Manhattan’s First-Ever Dog Park in a Domestic Violence Shelter Now Open

park 2Studies show that as many as 48 per cent of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations out of fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind, and more than 75 per cent of pet owners who enter shelter report that the abuser has threatened, injured, or killed family pets. Hence the importance of shelters for victims of domestic violence that allows them to bring their pets.

Last year, the Urban Resource Institute, a non-profit organization that provides supportive human services programs for individuals and families in the New York metropolitan such as those trapped in violent domestic situations , through their URIPALS (People and Animals Living Safely) program has made it possible for survivors of doemstic violence to take refuse in shelters that will also accommodate their pets.

Initially, only cats were allowed until last year when Purina stepped in and built a dog park called the Purina Play Haven at URI’s Safe Haven shelter in Brooklyn, making it the first-ever dog park at a domestic violence shelter in New York City and thus making the shelter dog-friendly too. And this month, saw the opening of the second dog park at the Urban Women’s Retreat in Manhattan.

dog park
Places to run and places to hide at the new Purina pet have dog park

“For most pet owners, the bond with their pet is incredibly strong, and for people in abusive relationships their pet can be an important source of comfort,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina veterinarian. “Purina is very proud to support the Urban Resource Institute in its efforts to keep families and their pets together during this time of healing.”

“Through the URIPALS program we have witnessed first-hand how important it is for survivors to have their beloved pets by their side while they heal,” added Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of URI at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Nathaniel Fields, CEO and president of URI, center and Purina veterinarian Dr. Kurt Venator to his right along with other local officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

As part of its support for the URIPALS program, Purina is also donating Purina ONE brand dog food, Purina Cat Chow brand cat food, along with other dog treats and cat litter. In addition, Purina is working with URI to provide supplies for welcome kits for families bringing pets to Urban Women’s Retreat, including pet travel carriers, safety gates, pet beds, pet feeding and watering bowls, cat scratching posts, leashes and pet toys.

With two of URI’s four New York City-based shelters now accommodating pets, the plan it to make them all pet friendly as people as still being turned away for lack of places to go with their pets. To date, URIPALS has helped 43 families with 63 pets, including 38 cats, 18 dogs, and a range of smaller animals, such as reptiles and fish, escape domestic violence.

To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit

This post was sponsored by the Nestle Purina PetCare Company. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.