Liberty House Domestic Violence Shelter welcomes survivors with pets

About 50% of survivors delay leaving their abusers because they cannot take their pets with them.
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - In recognition of domestic violence awareness month, RedRover and Greater Good Charities — two non-profits aimed at helping people and pets— are bringing HUGE additions to the Liberty House Domestic Violence Shelter.

Since 2012, RedRover has been working to keep survivors with their pets through a safe housing grants program.

Since 2016, they’ve been partnering with Greater Good Charities to bring renovations to domestic violence shelters so survivors can bring their pets with them in a time of need.

“In the United States, there are only approximately 19% of domestic violence shelters that take pets. And that’s a real barrier for people trying to get saved,” Bryn Donnelly, Greater Good Charities Rescue Rebuild Program Vice President of Pet Programs, said.

About 50% of survivors delay leaving their abusers because they cannot take their pets with them. Once this renovation here behind me is complete, the Liberty House will be the only pet-friendly shelter out of 17 southwestern counties in Georgia.

“91% of those survivors say their pets bring them emotional healing and emotional support. So, we think it’s extremely important to be able to preserve that human-animal bond and really keep survivors and their pets safe and together,” Katie Campbell, RedRover Director of Collaboration and Outreach, said.

The new “Pet Retreat Style” build will have space for three families with pets. It will look like a small living room, instead of a kennel, and will have a television, couch, and small pet door so the pets can take themselves outside when needed.

“We really strongly believe that pets are part of the healing process. This style of housing with pets and people together, really allows a survivor to heal with their pet,” Donnelly said. “Pets can heal, people can heal, and really preserve that human-animal bond.”

The two organizations recently launched a campaign to help make sure that 25% of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly by 2025 in the United States. This shelter puts them at about 19%, but they say they’re up for a challenge.