Red Rover.In this episode of All My Children Wear Fur Coats, we had the privilege of speaking to Katie Campbell, Director of Collaboration and Outreach at RedRover. Katie joins us today to speak about the purple leash project. The Purple Leash project is a program that helps create more pet-friendly domestic violence shelters so survivors and pets can stay together and heal.

Katie is a lifelong animal lover; she grew up in a small town in North Carolina where her mother was president of the local humane society. Later in her life she worked in human services helping people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence. During her time working in human services, Katie realized there was a connection between domestic violence cases and animal abuse. At this point she found RedRover and decided to combine her passions of helping others and saving animals. 7 years later, she remains passionate about the work she does and continues to develop exciting new programs in the hopes of uplifting her community.

The link between domestic violence and animal abuse runs deep. A lot of the foundational research showing this correlation goes back to the mid to late 90’s. Roughly 70% of women in a domestic violence shelter shared that their pets were injured, threated, or harmed by their abuser; current research confirms that this problem remains true today. Katie references a report that came out in 2021 from the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Urban Resource Institute in NYC; 2,500 survivors were surveyed and 48% of them confirmed that harm to their pet was a real worry to them while experiencing domestic violence. The ability to bring their pet with them played a very real role in whether they would decide to seek safety.

Katie has led the charge in raising awareness for this issue and trying to put programs into place for domestic violence shelter. To her dismay, this turned out to be an uphill battle.

After many unreturned calls and unanswered emails, Katie is finally starting to gain momentum. Now people are turning to RedRover on their own. Over 800 people have been trained through the Don’t Forget the Pets Program. RedRover has also given out over 200 grants totaling more than 3.8 million dollars to domestic violence shelters and animal shelters to create dedicated housing for the pets of survivors.

RedRover and Purina teamed up in 2019 to create the Purple Leash Project. Purina helps fund grants that are then given to domestic violence shelters to help create a dedicated space for the pets of those seeking help. More importantly, Purina can spread awareness.

During the month of October, which is domestic violence awareness month, Purina will have special packaging and promotional items with information about the Purple Leash Project. In spreading this information, the goal is to reach survivors and give them the resources they need to find safety with their pet.

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