America’s first pet-centric domestic violence shelter opens its doors

Currently, only 3% of domestic violence shelters accommodate pets. Now, one has been designed specifically with pets in mind.

On October 30, 2018, PALS Place – the first US domestic violence shelter designed to accommodate companion animals – opened its doors.  PALS Place was built in Brooklyn, New York to house local survivors and their pets, and is equipped with 30 apartments and communal areas where families and their furry friends can heal together. Animal-focused programs offer additional opportunity for residents to recover and move forward with their lives.

Many men and women in abusive situations choose not to seek help for fear of leaving their pets behind. Currently, only 3% of domestic violence shelters accommodate pets, and PALS Place is the first to offer survivors a way to integrate animals into their healing process. This innovative program is run by Urban Resource Institute (URI), the largest provider of domestic violence shelter and support services in the US. Their PALS (People and Animals Living Safely) Program now consists of 6 shelters in New York, and this facility is yet another step in their mission to help vulnerable persons across the state.

Twice a year, residents of PALS Place will have the option to attend a group session aimed at teaching them the benefits of the human-animal bond and its role in healing. Childcare is available and will incorporate animal-centered programs, as well as educational workshops to help kids learn how to care for pets. For the four-legged residents, a “Pet Haven” play area – equipped with padded grass – offers a safe space for exercise, while visits from groomers and veterinarians ensure that they remain in good health.

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