PAWS Act Coalition Working to Raise Awareness of the Need to Protect Domestic Violence Survivors and their Pets
Washington, D.C. (March 14, 2023) — The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations committed to protecting survivors of domestic violence and their pets, proudly shares the recent announcement of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program.
“Purina is proud to be part of the public-private partnership supporting grants to DV shelters to ensure more abuse survivors and their pets are able to enter safe shelter and begin healing together,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and President of Nestlé Purina PetCare.
“The PAWS Act Coalition will work closely with the Department of Justice to raise awareness of the $3.3 million available to aid survivors of domestic violence and their pets,” said Steven Feldman, President of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). “We are proud to help spread to word about the opening of the 2023 grant applications, including the new category of awards which aims to provide technical assistance to reinforce existing grantees.”
FY 2023 grants will provide funding for shelter and transitional housing and other assistance for survivors of domestic violence with pets, service animals, emotional support animals, or horses. Grants awarded may be used for programs that provide support services designed to enable someone fleeing an abuser to locate and secure housing with their pet, safe accommodations for their pet, or related services such as transportation and other assistance. Additionally, funding will provide training and technical assistance yo existing grantees from FY 2020-2022.
The OVC will fund five awards of up to $400,000 each for large projects and eight awards of up to $100,000 each for small projects. Eligible projects may facilitate pet-friendly shelter in different ways including emergency, transitional, and short-term shelter and housing assistance for domestic violence survivors along with their companion animals, support services to help survivors locate and secure safe housing with their pet, and training on the link between domestic violence and animal neglect and abuse.
For the first time, applicants may apply as a Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Provider. Awarded funds would support up to 23 existing and future grantees to implement programs that allow domestic violence survivors and their pets to find secure, safe housing together. These funds aim to increase collaboration between and among OVC grantees, other federally funded service providers and programs, community partners, and other stakeholders to enhance survivor identification, referrals, service delivery, and assistance.
“We’re thrilled to see OVC offer new support to help existing grantees meet their goals of helping survivors and their pets. This will further support survivors by ensuring pet-friendly domestic violence shelters are provided the care and attention they deserve,” said Nicole Forsyth, President and CEO of RedRover.
Organizations eligible to apply include states and territories; city or township governments; Native American tribal governments; any other organizations that have documented history of effective work concerning domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, including:
- Domestic violence and sexual assault survivor service providers;
- Domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions;
- Community-based and culturally specific organizations; and
- Any other nonprofit, nongovernmental organization
Additionally, any organization that works directly with pets, service animals, emotional support animals, or horses and collaborates with any organization referenced above is eligible to apply for funding. Such organizations include animal shelters and animal welfare organizations.
The U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office of Justice Programs, OJP, will accept applications for this grant program through April 17, 2023. The PAWS Act Coalition is working to share this funding opportunity as widely as possible so that qualified organizations can apply.
- OVC conducted one optional pre-application webinar where OVC staff reviewed the solicitation requirements and conducted a question and answer session with interested potential applicants.
- The webinar recording will be made available on the OVC website
- The Office of Justice Programs encourages applicants to review the “How to Apply” section in the OJP Grant Application Resource Guide and the JustGrants website for more information, resources, and training.
The $3.3 million appropriated for 2023 follows the success of the FY 2020,FY 2021, and FY 2022 Emergency Transitional Pet Shelter Housing and Assistance Grant Programs, which awarded approximately $2 million to six organizations in six states across the nation in 2020, a total of $2.42 million to five organizations in 2021, and a total of $2.7 million to 12 organizations in 2022. Grants have enabled shelters to expand housing and supportive service resources for domestic violence survivors, provide assistance including rent, pet deposits, and pet supplies to those seeking transitional housing with their pet, and more.
“Pet Partners registered therapy teams around the country are voicing their strong support for the PAWS Act Grant Program which brings more resources for domestic violence survivors and pets,” said Annie Peters, CEO of Pet Partners. “We are so grateful that their advocacy paid off again this year, and the $3.3 million appropriated in 2023 will help more survivors of domestic violence remain together with their pets at a time when they need each other the most.”
Organizations in the PAWS Act coalition include:
- Purina (Nestlé Purina PetCare)
- Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI)
- Noah’s Animal House
- Pet Partners
- Urban Resource Institute (URI)
Two of these organizations, Noah’s Animal House and Urban Resource Institute, are part of the less than 20% of domestic violence shelters across the country that actively offer co-shelter services to keep both pets and their owners away from the dangers of domestic abuse. Together these two incredible organizations have saved over 2,700 pets from abusive conditions, so that no domestic violence survivor is forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving their pet with their abuser.
“We’re proud to see more organizations recognize the critical need for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters,” said Staci Columbo Alonso, founder of Noah’s Animal House. “Since 2007, Noah’s Animal House has protected over 2,200 pets for more than 166,000 boarding nights, serving clients from over 35 states in the U.S, in addition to our home state of Nevada. Women drove thousands of miles from Florida, Oklahoma, Maine, Texas and others, driving past other women’s shelters in every state for one reason only, their pet had to be included in their escape plan.”
“This year is the 10th anniversary of the Urban Resource Institute’s pioneering People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, which remains the only program that allows co-living of people and pets in New York City shelters,” noted Nathaniel M. Fields, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Resource Institute. “We know from the URI PALS Report & Survey on Domestic Violence and Pets that 50% of survivors will not leave a dangerous situation without their pets, and 72% did not know some shelters accommodate pets often forcing a choice between safety and a beloved pet. The PAWS Act continues to help expand services to domestic violence survivors with pets across the country, breaking a key barrier to safety.”
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world’s most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,700 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 51 million dogs and 65 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.
Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.
About Pet Partners
Pet Partners is the leader in the therapy animal field for registering volunteer teams. Since 1977, we have supported thousands of teams in making millions of safe, effective visits across the country and around the world. Through the human-animal bond, we can improve the physical, social, and emotional lives of both the people and animals involved. Pet Partners supports volunteer teams by offering the highest quality preparation, an unmatched approach to evaluation and registration—for nine different types of animals, and a focus on connections. We elevate the importance of therapy animal visits, and our teams help build a healthier and happier world for us all. Whether or not you have a pet, learn more about sharing the human-animal bond by visiting www.petpartners.org.
About Urban Resource Institute
Urban Resource Institute (URI) helps transform the lives of domestic violence survivors and homeless families, with a focus on communities of color and other vulnerable populations, to end cycles of violence, poverty, and trauma. As the largest provider of domestic violence shelter services in the US and a leading provider of homeless services, URI’s innovative programs impact more than 40,000 individuals annually through prevention, intervention, education, and direct services in both residential and non-residential settings, including the pioneering People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program for domestic violence survivors and pets. With a trauma-informed approach to program development and service delivery, URI is uniquely equipped to provide solutions to the challenges affecting New York City’s most vulnerable populations while influencing service delivery in other parts of the U.S. and the world. For more information, please visit www.urinyc.org.
About Noah’s Animal House
Noah’s Animal House was the first stand-alone full service pet boarding facility in the country built on the grounds of and in partnership with The Shade Tree Shelter in 2007 to provide safety, shelter and support for the pets of the clients of the shelter. A second location serving up to 36 animals in Reno, Nevada opened February 2018 in partnership with the Domestic Violence Resource Center. In a national survey, 71 percent of women seeking safety in a domestic violence shelter reported pet abuse in their home and more than 25 percent delayed leaving because they did not have an escape plan that could include their pets. To learn more about Noah’s Animal House, visit http://www.noahsanimalhouse.org.
Since 1987, RedRover has focused on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance, and education. Since 2007, RedRover has awarded 1,413 Safe Escape grants, totaling more than $1 million and providing more than 62,000 safe nights for more than 1,900 pets. Since 2012, RedRover has awarded 185 grants to shelters in 46 states, totaling more than $3 million and equaling more than 443,000 safe nights for pets. Additionally, Safe Housing grants have created the first pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in 10 states! To learn how RedRover is creating a more compassionate world, visit RedRover.org.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit http://www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
New Study to Examine Social, Behavioral and Academic Effects of Pets in the Classroom
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) and the Pet Care Trust announced today they had awarded a combined $130,000 grant to American Humane, for a study titled, Pets in the Classroom (PIC): What are the Social, Behavioral, and Academic Effects of Classroom Pets for Children, 8-10 years? It is hypothesized that students with a classroom pet will experience increased social skills, improved academic competence and decreased competing problem behaviors compared to students who do not have a classroom pet. “Animals are common in today’s elementary school classrooms, and we are learning more and more about their positive impact on child well-being and development,” said principal investigator Dr. Amy McCullough, American Humane National Director of Research and Therapy. “This study will provide meaningful insight on the broad impact of child and animal relationships and help prepare schools and teachers with the responsibilities necessary to support the humane and effective incorporation of pets in classrooms and curricula.” The first phase of the PIC Study concluded in May 2015 and was supported by The Pet Care Trust, which operates the popular Pets in the Classroom grant program. The first phase consisted of surveying and interviewing teachers on their perspectives regarding the main benefits, challenges and uses of their classroom pets, which ranged from fish to guinea pigs, hamsters, bearded dragons, and others. This second phase of the study will examine approximately 650 students and parents, as well as 46 teachers from 23 U.S. third and fourth grade classrooms over the course of a nine-month school year. Students, teachers, and parents will complete questionnaires at three times throughout the study period to measure the social, behavioral, and academic effects of classroom pets and human-animal relationships on children. “The Pet Care Trust established the Pets in the Classroom educational grant program to provide children with an opportunity...
ANNOUNCING THE HUMAN ANIMAL BOND INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced the winners of the inaugural Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards, which recognize companies and organizations with innovative products and programs designed to advance the human-animal bond and create a more pet-friendly society. “As the Presenting Sponsor for the Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards, PetSmart Charities is proud to celebrate organizations that have gone above and beyond to strengthen the connection between people and pets,” said Aimee Gilbreath, President of PetSmart Charities. “This year’s honorees support the deep integration of pets into people’s lives, and their efforts will make a difference for many pets — and those who love and care for them.” Nominations were selected by an expert committee of pet care community leaders assembled by HABRI. Winners were honored at a special awards ceremony held in conjunction with the annual SuperZoo show in Las Vegas. The 2022 Human Animal Bond Innovation Award winners are: Product & Service Category: Health Alliance Medical Plans Health Alliance Medical Plans offers health insurance plans across multiple states in the Midwest region of the United States. As of January 2022, Health Alliance Medical Plans became the first human insurance company to provide fully-paid access to 24-hour veterinary telehealth for 30,000 Medicare Advantage plan members in three regional offerings. “It’s a fact that pets play a tremendous role in human well-being,” said Heidi Sirota, President and Chief Pet Officer of Nationwide’s pet insurance division. “As a proud sponsor of HABRI’s Innovation Awards, Nationwide applauds Health Alliance Medical Plans for advancing the human-animal bond by making critical health resources available to pet families.” Workplace Culture Category: American Heart Association The American Heart Association’s Best Friend Fridays campaign is part of the Association’s Healthy Bond for LifeTM initiative to raise...
New Report on Addressing the Loneliness Crisis through the Power of Pets
Mars Petcare and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), with support from a broad consortium of partners, today released a report that offers a roadmap for advancing research and best practices that address how human-animal interaction can serve as an important solution to the growing epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. “There is increasing evidence that pets can play an important role in helping people feel less lonely and more socially connected,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director, HABRI. “Together with the leadership of Mars Petcare and a group of other experts and stakeholders, HABRI will work to address the crisis of loneliness in our society with the power of the human-animal bond.” Loneliness currently affects three in five Americans[i] and 9 million people in the United Kingdom.[ii] Loneliness can be as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, making it a serious threat to public health.[iii] Mars Petcare and HABRI surveyed 2,000 people in the United States, finding that 85 percent of respondents believe interaction with companion animals can help reduce loneliness.[iv] “We have a responsibility to take the scientific exploration further when evidence to date shows us that pets can be part of addressing such a significant societal issue,” commented Rena Crumplen, Global Vice President of Research and Development, Mars Petcare. “It’s important that we undertake rigorous studies to understand how companion animals may provide a benefit for those suffering from conditions associated with social isolation and loneliness.” The new report, Addressing the Social Isolation and Loneliness Epidemic with the Power of Companion Animals, brings forward the recommendations from the Summit on Social Isolation and Companion Animals, along with the continued work of a broad consortium of human health advocates, mental health practitioners, veterinarians and human-animal interaction researchers. The report outlines the following three-pronged...