She and the dogs were forced out of the house by her girlfriend of 19 years. It’s unfortunately also why 48% of women in the U.S. choose to stay in abusive relationships. The resources for victims with pets in need of shelter are incredibly limited.
Only 2% of shelters in the U.S. have any sort of program that factors pets into the family. New York City is the largest provider of domestic violence services in the country, with more than 50 shelters total. There is currently only one that allows pets in residence, and it’s only been in effect for a little over a year.
Jasmin made sure the court knew her dogs belonged to her. She paid for them and took care of them, even though they were purchased in her ex-partner’s name. Surprisingly, the legal system is not totally aware this option even exists yet.
Rita Garza is URI’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and development: “We recognize the value of the pet as a true member of the family. In addition to everything else that a domestic violence victim is experiencing just coming into a shelter, to ask them not be able to have their pet is for us unacceptable.”
When you ask Jasmin about her dogs, her face lights up. She knows they’re safely down the hall, watching cartoons and just waiting for their mom to come home and share some of that chicken she’s cooking.
New York City’s regulations on domestic violence services do not incorporate pets. URI has implemented extensive planning and broad operational changes, working with the mayor’s alliance to address these issues and raise awareness among all the other systems (hotlines, other shelters, animal welfare, courts, the NYPD) that work within the domestic violence services community. Read more…