(NASHVILLE, Tenn. – December 3, 2020) Pets are a part of our everyday lives. Pets are an important source of comfort and emotional support. Pets are part of the family. But for women and children experiencing domestic abuse, fear of abuse of their beloved pets is a barrier to finding safety for themselves.
“We see this heartbreaking situation nearly every day. Victims call our crisis line and ask if we allow pets to come into shelter with them,” said YWCA President & CEO Sharon K. Roberson. “Until now, we could only help them safety plan for their pets. We know that many survivors stay in abusive homes for fear of subjecting their animals to continued abuse, if left behind. It is troubling to know that animals are often left with their abusers to face torture or even death. Too often victims are faced with a choice of staying with their abuser in extremely dangerous situations and keeping their pets safe or leaving them behind. I’m delighted to announce today that victims won’t have to choose anymore, because the YWCA’s Weaver Domestic Violence Center will soon be able to welcome both survivors and their pets.”
After years of planning, YWCA has secured the necessary funding to build and operate a pet shelter and outdoor play area on the Weaver Domestic Violence Center campus. Amazon has delivered the final funding needed to move the project from concept to reality: a $156,000 donation. With this final round of financing, the YWCA’s Weaver Center will soon open the first emergency domestic violence pet shelter in the region.
“We are deeply committed to the Nashville community and proud to support YWCA’s critical work in this area,” said Courtney Ross, Sr. Manager of External Affairs at Amazon’s Nashville office. “Providing shelter to the pets of domestic violence victims will remove another hurdle for survivors seeking to leave violent homes. We’re honored to help see this project through to completion.”
Studies show that nearly 50 percent of victims remain in violent homes because they could not bring their pets into shelter. Over 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed, or threatened family pets. It’s a critical need YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Weaver Domestic Violence Center is finally able to address. Visit this link for more information on our planned pet shelter.
YWCA board member and local philanthropist Gail Alexander has spearheaded this project for years and has provided significant funding for the pet shelter, which will be named in her mother’s honor. Other funders include the nonprofits RedRover and Be Like Henry and the U.S. Justice Dept. – Office of Justice Programs. Nashville-based builder Hartert-Russell will begin construction in January with a completion date scheduled for spring of 2021.
About YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee
For 122 years, YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee has helped women, girls and families in Nashville and Middle Tennessee build safer, more self-sufficient lives. YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Programs include Domestic Violence Services, Girls Inc., AMEND Together, Social Justice & Advocacy, Dress for Success and the Family Learning Center. For more information, visit https://ywcanashville.com, follow us on twitter @YWCANashville, Instagram @YWCANashvile and find us on Facebook at facebook.com/YWCANashville. If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, call the 24-hour Crisis & Support Helpline – 800-334-4628 or 24-hour Textline 615-983-5170.
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