Purple Leash Project advocates for pet-friendly domestic violence shelters

Jacksonville Humane Society, Hubbard House partner to raise awareness of domestic violence’s effect on survivors, their pets

Helping pets of domestic violence survivors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When a survivor realizes it’s time to escape an abusive relationship, sometimes they will hesitate because they don’t want to abandon or endanger their beloved pet.

Purina’s and Red Rover’s Purple Leash Project aims to help pet owners in these situations by increasing the number of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters.

The project was founded in 2019 -- born out of Purina’s mission to keep pets and people together and Red Rover’s mission to bring animals and their owners from crisis to care.

The Jacksonville Humane Society is partnering with local domestic violence shelter Hubbard House to support pets in homes of domestic violence and bring awareness to the Purple Leash Project.

“Many times, victims of domestic abuse will remain in their situation because they don’t want to leave their pets behind,” said Denise Deisler, CEO of the Jacksonville Humane Society. “We’re proud to partner with Hubbard House and support Purina’s and Red Rover’s vision where no one is trapped in abuse because they can’t take their whole family with them, including their pets.”

On Saturday, every dog adoption from JHS will receive a purple leash, “a visible symbol of an invisible struggle for domestic abuse victims and their pets,” JHS said.

Since its founding, Purple Leash Project has increased the number of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. that accept pets from fewer than 10% to 15%. Forty-eight states now have at least one pet-friendly domestic abuse shelter and Purple Leash Project created the first pet-friendly domestic violence shelters in West Virginia and Maine.

Purina is advocating for the cause at a federal level as a founding member of the PAWS Act Coalition, which helped pass legislation that provides federal funding for domestic violence shelters to become pet-friendly. By working together with others in the public and private sectors, progress is being made, but there is still work to do, JHS said.

The new goal is to help ensure that at least 25% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. are pet-friendly by 2025.

JHS encourages anyone looking to adopt a dog to stop by 8464 Beach Blvd. on Oct. 16th wearing purple to show support for the Purple Leash Project.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.