Pets in Shelter

Almost 68% of US families have pets. Human-animal bonds are a source of support, comfort, and security for many people. For adult and child survivors of domestic violence, they can also support resilience and healing.  

Research suggests that many domestic violence survivors delay or do not seek shelter from abusive partners because they are concerned about their pet’s welfare. By making programs and housing options pet-friendly, domestic violence programs can help families be safer and support healing. 

Promising Futures and Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T) partnered to offer a 3-part webinar series on Supporting Family Resiliency Through Relationships with Animals. These resources can help domestic violence advocates, counselors, early childhood professionals, child welfare professionals, and educators learn about how programs can increase their capacity to meet survivors’ needs for animal-friendly spaces. 

Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T) is the first and only global initiative guiding domestic violence shelters on how to house families together with their pets. SAF-T enables more domestic violence victims to leave abusive households without leaving their pets behind and at risk. SAF-T also celebrates the human-animal bond and how family pets can provide comfort, reassurance and healing to adult and child survivors. SAF-T was created in recognition that families in violent situations often have pets and do not wish to be separated from them when fleeing their abusive environment. The SAF-T Start-Up Manual sets forth three housing styles (with a fourth option for transitional housing) and answers questions about how to safely house pets on-site at a domestic violence shelter. 

For more information, please email Allie Phillips, SAF-T Founder & CEO, at