Abuse Victims Endure Violence Out of Fear for Pet Safety

RedRover Helps Victims Escape Abuse Without Leaving Their Pets Behind

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RedRover (www.redrover.org), a national animal protection nonprofit based in California, is bringing attention to the connection between animal abuse and family violence during Domestic Violence Awareness Month by offering information and a free webinar about grants available to domestic violence shelters.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. As many as 48 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave. Only three percent of shelters can house pets on-site; a portion provide off-site housing referrals while the majority of shelters do not offer any resources at all.

RedRover offers aid to victims of domestic violence and their pets through the RedRover Relief program. This program provides financial support for veterinary care and boarding to enable domestic violence victims to leave their batterers without having to leave their pets behind, and new in 2012, the program provides grants to domestic violence shelters to enable them to fund the creation of on-site space to house pets.

"Sadly, many domestic violence victims stay in abusive homes because they are afraid to leave their pets," said Nicole Forsyth, RedRover President and CEO. "Their pets are often also victims of abuse, suffering from injuries and neglect. RedRover Relief grants make it possible for victims to safely escape, reassured that their pets are protected."

Donations to the RedRover Relief program have funded critical care and shelter for animals displaced by family violence. In one case, RedRover awarded a $300 grant to a woman seeking a protective order against her husband, who had threatened to drive her cats into the woods and abandon them. Another applicant finally found the courage to leave her abusive husband, but said she would sleep in her car before she gave up her elderly pug. And in another case, a grant from RedRover paid for two months of boarding for a family's dog while they sought child- and pet-friendly housing after fleeing a very dangerous situation.

Increased outreach and greater public awareness on domestic violence issues have led to a 70 percent rise in applications for the RedRover Relief program in the last year.

RedRover is offering a free webinar on October 23 to share how family violence shelters can include pets, and how RedRover Relief grants can help. Learn more and sign up at www.redrover.org/domestic.

Founded in 1987, RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and into care through a variety of programs, including emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services, financial assistance for urgent veterinary care and humane education. Learn more at www.redrover.org.

The RedRover logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=13278

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

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