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Pet-Friendly Domestic Abuse Shelter Comes to NYC

by Kelsey Schappell
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A dog sits

Kelsey Schappell, WFUV

New York City's first shelter to allow victims to bring their pets will be launched in June.

The first domestic violence shelter in New York City to allow pets is on its way.

The Urban Resource Institute is pairing up with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals to launch the program. It's knows as PALS, which stands for People and Animals Living Safely.

Allie Phillips, an expert on sheltering families and animals together, says keeping this family unit in tact is an important part of the recovery process.

"Domestic violence is a disaster. It's no different. You don't leave your kids behind and you don't leave your pets behind."

Muriel Raggi is a survivor of domestic violence. Her dog, Jasmine, wasn't able to stay with her when she was living in a shelter, which worried Raggi. She says pets are vital to the healing process.

"Pets don't ask questions. And sometimes, especially in that situation, you don't have answers. So having your pet there to comfort you is probably the best thing."

PALS will launch on June 1st as a 6-month pilot program in one of Urban Resource Institute's 3 existing shelters. It'll start by hosting smaller animals, including cats and hamsters. Dogs will be accepted once they have the proper facilities and staffing in place.

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