How Pets Can be a Lifeline for Domestic Abuse Survivors

For someone experiencing domestic violence, a pet may be their only source of consistent love and comfort. Too often, these pets’ health and safety is also at risk in these situations, especially if the abuse survivor tries to leave.

“It’s hard to overstate the life-saving role a pet can play in helping a victim survive the isolation that is so prevalent in abusive situations, and how wrenching the choice can be to leave a pet behind if a survivor decides to leave their abuser,” said “Law and Order” actor and advocate Mariska Hargitay.

Hargitay recently partnered with Purina’s Purple Leash Project to unveil “Courageous Together,” a new statue by renowned “Fearless Girl” artist Kristen Visbal depicting a woman and her dog, connected by a purple leash and taking a courageous first step forward together, as survivors leaving their abuser.

According to the Purple Leash Project, nearly half of all domestic abuse survivors delay leaving their abuser because they can’t leave their pets behind. The fact that less than 20 percent of domestic violence shelters allow pets is a big part of the reason.

“Art has an incredible way of opening minds and starting conversations, and ‘Courageous Together’ is meant to do both as we continue to shine a light on the journey that domestic abuse survivors with pets face,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO of Purina.

“We’re proud to link arms with Kristen and Mariska who both use their respective art as a platform to drive meaningful conversations and positive change and who both fully embrace the mission of the Purple Leash Project.”

The Purple Leash Project provides resources and support to help domestic violence shelters across the U.S. Since 2019, The Purple Leash Project has provided 48 grants to domestic violence shelters.

The important work Purina and its partners do to benefit the health, happiness, and connection between pets and people is an inspiration. As part of the Purina Shelter Champions Network, Joybound is the grateful recipient of Purina food and litter, keeping our shelter guests well fed and our programs going strong. In the last year alone, Purina donated more than $10 million in nutritious pet food and cat litter to pet welfare partners throughout the country. We are excited to continue working together to support strong human-animal bonds and bring greater health and happiness to dogs, cats, their human families, and the community as a whole.

This article is adapted from a May 6 press release from the Purple Leash Project.

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