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Purple Leash Project

©Purina/The Purple Leash Project

In the United States, one in three women and one in four men will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. For those with pets, leaving an abuser can be difficult, as only 15% of U.S. domestic violence shelters allow pets. Almost half of abuse survivors will delay leaving an abuser if they can’t bring their pet with them to a shelter.

Purina and RedRover have passionately addressed this issue for more than a decade by providing grants, resources and support to help domestic violence shelters better serve the needs of abuse survivors with pets. They recently enlisted the help of two new and existing friends to help shine a light on the lack of pet-friendly resources for survivors — journalist and Emmy Award-winning talk show host Tamron Hall and Washington Commanders defensive end James Smith-Williams.

“Pets have a unique ability to break down walls, inspire empathy and help us start conversations about tough issues like domestic violence,” says Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and president of at Nestle Purina North America. “And the conversations we are having today are driving real change in the way that abuse survivors with pets are served.”

James, who enjoys spending time with his mixed breed dog, Luna, is part of the My Cause My Cleats program, in which pro football players can represent their chosen cause or organization by way of custom-designed cleats on game day. They’ll then have the option to donate their cleats for a fan auction, and all proceeds will go toward the players’ respective causes. For James, the proceeds of the sale of his cleats will benefit the Purple Leash Project.

Tamron, a lifelong pet lover whose sister was tragically killed by an abuser, continues to be an advocate for survivors in her third year as a Purple Leash Project partner, with her new Bernedoodle puppy, Exodus, by her side.

Since the Purple Leash Project was founded in 2019, Purina has provided more than $1 million in funding and is now working with RedRover toward a goal of helping ensure that at least 25% of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly by 2025.

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About the Author

Annie Butler Shirreffs
Annie Butler Shirreffs
Annie Butler Shirreffs has worked in the pet industry for more than 20 years and is currently the executive editor of Catster magazine and contributing editor on Dogster magazine. A cat lover since she was a little girl, she has always had feline friends in her life. She and her husband share their Southern California home with their four cats, Agatha, Mathilda, Jack and Marty, and an ever-changing clowder of foster kittens, all of whom enjoy being testers for cool, new products.

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