The stats are horrifying. Most domestic violence shelters don't allow pets! So many women have nowhere to go when they're trying to leave a horrible situation so they stay with their abuser. I cannot imagine feeling stuck in an abusive situation like this with nowhere to take my dogs.
CNN wrote an article that inspired this post and included a statistic showing that fewer than 10 percent of domestic violence shelters provide some sort of pet service, such as placement in a nearby foster home or boarding at a local animal shelter.
In 2007, Noah's Animal House, a full-service pet shelter located right on the grounds of a domestic violence shelter in Las Vegas opened. It was the first of its kind in the country. CNN reported in their story that women can visit their animals as often as they like.
"Women can visit and take care of their pets as often as they'd like. The shelter also has "cuddle rooms," set up like living rooms, where women can spend time with their pets."
CNN spoke with the woman that opened this pet shelter, Staci Alonso, and she talks about the stress these women carry when they're looking for a place to stay.
"You know the power of the pet when you watch the woman come through the doors and you see the anxiety on her face -- and then they see their pet. You look back at the woman and all of the stress is gone."
Women have traveled from 21 states to get to Noah's Animal House! Clearly, more of these animal shelters next to domestic violence shelters need to open.
Alonso is a CNN Hero candidate! Learn more about all their heroes and vote if this story inspired you!
The cuddle room below with a munchkin ready for a visit. Everyone's fave place of course!
"Since opening in 2007, we have cared for over 1,400 pets at Noah's. And that equates to 90,000 boarding nights. Some pets have stayed as long as a year."
Check out more about the shelter in this video.
You can donate to Noah's Animal House via CrowdRise, click here.
If you are in an abusive relationship, absolutely research animal shelters that are attached to domestic violence shelters. Domestic abuse is an issue that needs to be highlighted and shouted from the rooftops. The idea that many boarding facilities haven't been designed to be near a women's shelter is a tragedy.
Thank goodness that Las Vegas paved the way as a city demonstrating the great need for this and domestic abuse survivors I'm sure would share how they felt about their time at the shelter and visits with their pets at the animal shelter. At the time this story was published we didn't reach out to abuse survivors but are planning another story.
Every city should explore an animal shelter for their domestic violence resource centers.
This founder's story is amazing and if you have time, take a few minutes to read through the CNN Heroes as they're all inspiring.
The Shade Tree shelter is the shelter next to Noah's Animal House.
What do you think of this piece? Do we need more animal shelters at domestic violence shelters? Please leave us a comment below!