Recognizing both the urgent need to protect domestic violence victims from further abuse and the comfort that pets provide people, especially in times of stress and trauma, American Humane is leading a national program to guide domestic and family violence emergency housing shelters toward permitting residents to bring their pets with them.
American Humane's Pets and Women's Shelters (PAWS) Program acknowledges the richness of the bond between people and their pets, which often provide unconditional love and comfort to adult domestic violence victims and their children. For that reason -- as well as for the safety of the pets -- American Humane strongly advocates keeping domestic violence victims and their pets together whenever possible. This Startup Guide, written by Allie Phillips, J.D., director of public policy for American Humane, provides simple, how-to methods for starting a PAWS Program at a domestic violence shelter. In 2008, American Humane hopes to see 15 PAWS Programs launched across the country, with additional programs added in subsequent years. American Humane envisions a day when no family members, including pets, will be harmed. Until that day comes, implementing a PAWS Program in every domestic violence shelter throughout the United States will help keep people and their pets safe.