Reinventing Shelters for Humans and Pets

Rita Garza (photo courtesy of Purina)

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Rita Garza considers herself very fortunate. In the past 18 months, she has been able to combine her “two passions: improving services and increasing awareness for victims of domestic violence” with her “deep love for animals.” Rita works for Urban Resource Institute (URI) in New York, an “incredible organization” that’s “always willing to step forward with innovations.”

Rita Garza (photo courtesy of Purina)

One of the alarming trends she learned in the course of her work was that as many as 49 percent of women stay in abusive situations out of concern for the pets’ safety. Another statistic: More than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters report that their batterer had threatened, injured, or killed their pets.

“We [at URI] needed to be educated by the animal welfare community and reached out to the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals,” said Rita. “They had launched a People and Pets in Crisis Program years ago…and had been waiting for an organization like ours to come forward.” Before 2013, none of New York City’s 50 emergency domestic violence shelters offered refuge to families with pets. In May 2013, —> Read More Here


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