The Purple Leash Project Helps Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Pets Stay Together

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year, ABC talk show host Tamron Hall is marking it by joining forces with the Purple Leash Project. Founded by Purina and RedRover, it gives victims and their pets a safe place to escape abuse at the hands of domestic partners who are prone to fits of violence. 

“You have family shelters around the country, but most of them can’t accept pets,” Hall stated. “Here’s the problem, nearly half of people who are in homes where there’s domestic violence delay leaving because they can’t bring themselves to leave their pets behind. With the Purple Leash Project, we’re now helping shelters become pet friendly.”

woman with dog
Photo: Pixabay/thuanvo

Purple Leash Project

The Purple Leash Project was sparked by Purina’s mission to bring people and pets together and to keep them that way. RedRover’s mission was to bring animals and their owners out of crisis and into care. 

Together, the two groups are working toward the shared goal of creating special spaces that are safe for animals to sleep and play so everyone can heal.

 Hall notes it’s important to ask for the things that you need. 

If you’re in a bad place and need to bring your pet to escape violence, there’s a place for both of you. To Hall, it hits close to home, as her sister, Renate, suffered from domestic violence in the years prior to her murder in 2004.

Domestic Violence Shelters

According to stats compiled by the Purple Leash Project, “Today, 49 of 50 states have at least 1 pet-friendly domestic violence shelter, but there is much more work to do. Our goal is to see 25% of shelters in the U.S. become pet-friendly by 2025. We’re committed to donating $2M by 2025 to ensure at least 25% of shelters in the U.S. become pet friendly by that time.” If you or someone you know faces these challenges, you can visit RedRover’s resource directory for survivors and advocates that lists pet-friendly programs across the United States and Canada at

man drinking coffee with cat
Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

Difficult Choices

Purina’s work to assist domestic violence survivors and their pets in staying together began almost a decade ago when one of its associates read about the gut-wrenching decision they are frequently forced to make: stay with an abuser or leave a beloved furbaby behind due to a lack of accessible pet-friendly shelters in their area. These pets are often the only source of unconditional love and support for survivors during these difficult times, and they weren’t being considered when it came to sheltering them. So, they decided to help.

“Since that time, Purina has helped one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the U.S. on its journey to become a leading voice and shining example of pet-friendly sheltering. We also helped create the PAWS Act Coalition in support of the Pets and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which helps domestic abuse survivors and their pets by advocating for federal resources dedicated to this cause,” they explain on their About Purple Leash Project page. Save a life and spread the word — and remember, domestic violence doesn’t just happen to women. It’s a people problem that needs to be addressed.

Rescue Rebuild

In conjunction with The Animal Rescue Site, Greater Good Charities’ Rescue Rebuild program team members are headed to a domestic violence shelter in Oklahoma to renovate and transform it to properly accommodate women and their pets. They’ll work to convert a pole barn into an animal space, which will include six indoor kennels, pet visitation rooms, a free-roaming cat room, a play yard, and more! Right now, your gift to save women and pets in need from abuse will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,000 in the month of October.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!