KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year, nearly one million animals are abused or killed in connection with domestic violence. Bayer Animal Health is making strides to help lower this statistic by raising awareness through PAWS: Share the Story. This campaign supports domestic violence survivors through the donation of $60,000 to three domestic violence shelters across the country that support pets involved in domestic abuse.
Almost half of abused women say they are unable to escape abusive living situations, because they worry about what will happen to their pets should they leave1. Abusers use pets as pawns, and survivors tend to remain in abusive relationships out of concern for the welfare and safety of their pets. There are too few domestic violence shelters nationwide that are equipped to house and care for pets. This results in survivors having to choose between a life without their pet, or a dangerous living situation for both the survivor and their beloved pet.
Bayer understands the importance of creating awareness about this issue, and has been an avid supporter and advocate of Rose Brooks Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Rose Brooks Center is an award-winning domestic violence shelter providing a robust list of care services including: prevention programming, crisis prevention, life skills development and other supportive and therapeutic services. In 2012, with help from Bayer, Rose Brooks Center became the first domestic violence shelter in the region to welcome four-legged family members, and the therapeutic benefits pets have on abuse survivors became abundantly clear. Bayer's donation of $50,000 helped to fund the creation of Paws Place, a pet shelter co-located on Rose Brooks' facility, providing a safe place for survivors of domestic abuse to spend time with their pets and heal together. Since its creation, Bayer has supported Rose Brooks Center every year by providing funding for pet care costs and facility maintenance.
"We cherish the relationship we have with Bayer Animal Health, and cannot thank them enough for their support over the years," said Zoe Agnew Svboda, Paws Place Program Coordinator. "Paws Place is changing the lives of the individuals walking through our doors every day, and we are thankful that we're able to provide the care they need to heal and move forward."
One survivor looks back on her decision to come to Paws Place for refuge. "My dog is a big part of my family, and is my emotional support system. It's hard to put into words, but animals heal [you]—more than sitting in a chair for therapy. If it weren't for Paws Place, I wouldn't have come to the shelter and I would have lost my kids. My dog would have stayed chained up with my abuser. Animals are protectors, and my dog stepped in to protect me from my abuser several times2."
Now, Bayer is extending support to other domestic violence shelters that understand the importance of providing co-located pet facilities for survivors to heal with their pets. This support is an extension of Bayer's "PAWS: Share the Story" campaign to help create awareness of this issue. This year, Bayer is giving $20,000 to both Noah's Animal House, located in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Urban Resource Institute, located in New York City. These organizations have campuses equipped to heal both the survivors of domestic violence and their pets.
Noah's Animal House is a full service boarding facility on the grounds of the largest women and children's shelter in Nevada, The Shade Tree Shelter. In 2005, a heartbreaking story of a woman escaping her battered life with her pet inspired the shelter to remove their "No Pets Allowed" sign, and Noah's Animal House was built two years later. After eight years in operation, Noah's Animal House has cared for and protected over 1,000 pets for the women and children at the shelter.
The Urban Resource Institute (URI) supports more than 1,400 clients each year, offering therapeutic, counseling and educational services in both English and Spanish. In 2013, the URI People and Animals Living Safely (URIPALS) program was launched on-site at URI's Urban Women's Safe Haven and Urban Women's Retreat shelters. URIPALS is the first co-sheltering program in New York City, and one of few offered nationwide, that is equipped to house families and pets together, preserving their welfare and safety.
Fortunately, big steps are being taken on a national level to address this issue. The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act is currently in review and aims to help bridge the gap between the need of services for domestic violence survivors with pets and the ability of agencies to meet those needs. This bill is adamant about removing the roadblock that is essential to the safety of these survivors, acknowledging that more services are urgently needed to accomplish this.
"We recognize the great need to support domestic violence shelters that care for both survivors and their beloved pets," said Lauren Dorsch, Senior Manager of Communications, Bayer Animal Health. "Survivors of domestic violence should not have to choose between their safety and a loved one, and these shelters make it possible for them to heal in a safe place, without saying goodbye to their pets."
There are several ways people across the country can support the PAWS Act and raise awareness for this important cause. Those interested cause can take initiative by:
- Sending an electronic letter to local congressman/woman and/or state senator by clicking here.
- Sharing the educational video located here on social media channels to help raise awareness.
- Having pets wear purple from now through the end of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To learn more and watch a short video about Bayer Animal Health's "PAWS: Share the Story" campaign, go to http://www.petandwomensafety.com.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on Oct. 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
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1 Source: http://www.rosebrooks.org/services/pet-shelter
2 Source remains anonymous for safety reasons.