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For Domestic Violence Victims and Their Pets, We Aren’t Backing Down

For Domestic Violence Victims and Their Pets, We Aren’t Backing Down

More than 70% of women in domestic-violence shelters report that their abuser used their pet(s) as a means of manipulation and control. When survivors are ready to make the terrifying choice to leave, many face a cruel reality that only 17% of domestic-violence shelters accept pets, leaving them with an impossible choice – stay and endure abuse or leave their pet behind. It’s no wonder that nearly half of domestic abuse survivors delay leaving these traumatic, dangerous situations to protect a beloved pet who may very well be their main source of unconditional love and companionship.

That’s unacceptable. Several years ago, Purina committed to doing something about it. Our core belief that pets and people are better together isn’t simply a “feel-good” idea. In this instance, it can mean the difference between life and death.

In 2019, the Purple Leash Project was born. We partnered with Red Rover, a national nonprofit focused on this issue, to raise awareness and increase the number of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in the United States, and we quickly got to work, advocating for survivors with pets and providing resources to make a difference. Since the Purple Leash Project was created, Purina has:

  • Helped 46 domestic-violence shelters become pet-friendly
  • Donated more than $1.2 million to the Purple Leash Project fund, offering grants for shelter upgrades
  • Created the PAWS Act Coalition in support of the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act to advocate for federal resources
  • Reached our initial goal of ensuring there’s a pet-friendly domestic- violence shelter in all 50 states

But we aren’t stopping there. We’ve updated and extended our goal. By the end of 2025, we want to help ensure that at least 25% of domestic- violence shelters offer pet-friendly services. Because we fiercely believe that no survivor should have to choose between their own safety and the safety of their pet, we want to continue to fundamentally change the landscape of domestic-violence services for survivors with pets.

We can’t create this fundamental change alone. It requires additional awareness, support and advocacy – all of which you can play a role in as a retailer. Want to keep it simple? Finish this article and immediately share information about this program with your social media communities, using #PurpleLeashProject, or visit to sign up for ongoing updates and ways to become an advocate.

Interested in playing a bigger role?
Drive attention and awareness with Purple Leash Project merchandising shipper units, available through your Purina sales rep. Your sales rep can also provide you with information on specially marked Purina products, donations, roundup programs and more. You can even explore if domestic- violence shelters in your community are pet-friendly at

Finally, to the many pet industry retail partners that have already embraced the Purple Leash Project, we extend our deepest thanks, especially as we mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October. You are part of how we can create meaningful, long-term change for domestic violence survivors and their pets.

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