NLC Pet Park

New dog park welcomes pets of domestic violence survivors

New Life Center, one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the country, has officially opened its new dog park for pets of domestic violence victims. This project was made possible by a $175,000 grant from PetSmart Charities.

“More than 70 percent of victims of intimate partner violence report their abusers also harmed or threatened their pets,” said Kate Atema, director of Community Grant Initiatives at PetSmart Charities. “Ensuring that refuges are pet-friendly helps victims escape, knowing their pets will be welcome and safe. During times of crisis, pets and people need each other more than ever, and we applaud New Life Center’s innovative thinking.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 52 percent of those staying in shelters had to leave their pets with their abusers. Leaving pets with abusers can hinder a domestic violence victim’s healing as well as put the animal’s safety in danger.

“Animals play an essential role during a survivor’s healing journey, and these new amenities will ensure their stay at the shelter is as comfortable as possible,” said Myriah Mhoon, CEO of NLC.

The grant will also support pet housing in survivors’ rooms at the shelter, options for fostering their pets off-site, emergency care, access to food, veterinary care, and supplies like leashes, collars, crates and toys.