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PAWS: Seeking Safety for Victims and their Companion Animals

Most people consider their pets to be part of their family. As such, victims fleeing domestic violence often encounter situations where they must either leave behind a pet to seek safety for themselves or remain in a home with both their pet and their abuser. Worse yet, many victims fear for the safety of their animals should they be forced to leave them behind. When put in this impossible position, many victims choose to stay with their abusers because of the love they have for the animals in their lives.

CCN is now providing additional support for victims facing these circumstances: All victims and their companion animals deserve a life free of violence and fear.

The following free services are available to keep together victims and their companion animals (i.e. pets, emotional support animals, service animals, larger animals such as horses, etc.) who are seeking to flee from a domestic violence situation:

Reach out to Crisis Center North's 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 412-365-5556 or contact us via our Crisis Text-Chatline to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions about Services

General Questions

Are these services free?

Yes, services are free but may be limited.

What qualifies me for these services?

You are eligible if you are a victim of domestic violence and are fleeing a domestic abuse situation with your companion animal (including pets).

What if the abuser gave me the pet as a git or we bought together?

You will need to speak to an attorney about your rights of ownership of the pet if you are unsure. Crisis Center North can help to connect you with community resources to help.

Pet-Friendly Hotel Shelter

Can I take my pet with me and my children to the emergency housing hotel?


I have two pets, can they both come?

The number and size of pets that can be housed depends on the restrictions of the hotels that have vacancies, but most take at least two pets. If support for more pets is needed, we can work with you to find alternate arrangements.

Do I need to bring food, crates, pet litter, etc.?

If you have the pet supplies on hand you can bring your own, but if needed you will receive a pet store gift card at check in to help you and your pet obtain necessary items.

How long can I stay at the pet-friendly hotel?

It depends on the circumstances, but the usual stay is up to 3 nights, though longer stays may be available depending on your situation.

Who will know that my family and my pet are in the pet friendly hotel?

Confidentiality is of upmost importance in the placement.  Names are not used and you are asked not to reveal your location to anyone while in the hotel for your own and others' safety.

Animal Boarding/Emergency Animal Shelter

When can my pet stay at a boarding facility?

Your pet can stay at a boarding facility when you are fleeing an abusive situation and you have a place to stay but your pet does not.  The pet can also be housed for safety reasons to prevent person and animal abuse in your home while you are preparing to find a safe place away from the abusive situation.


Can I see my pet while it is staying at the boarding facility?

Yes.  Arrangements can be made to see your pet or call in to check in on the welfare of your pet depending on the organization’s policies.


Is the location of my pet confidential?

Answer: Yes.


How long can my pet stay at the boarding facility?

14 to 30 days, exceptions may apply.


Are vaccinations required to stay at the boarding shelter?

Yes. Rabies, Bordetella and distemper for dogs and rabies and FVRCP for cats.


What if my pet does not have up to date vaccinations?

If you are not in immediate crisis, CCN can pay for the vaccinations with veterinary funds discussed below.  If you are currently in an emergency, the animal may be able to go to a pet friendly hotel with you and schedule the vaccinations while staying there.

Veterinary Care Stipends

Can I use my own veterinarian or do I need to use one that you are affiliated with?

You can use your own veterinarian. You will need to sign a release for CCN to talk to the veterinarian about the care of your pet and to receive estimates and bills.


What kind of services are covered?

Vaccinations, well-visit care and emergency care with limitations on amount that can be paid.


When are services covered?

Services are covered if they were received within 90 days before or after fleeing the abusive situation.


Can I go with my pet or does my pet have to travel alone?

It depends on the service provider. Some will allow you to accompany your pet. The service used will depend on your specific needs and availability.

Pet Supplies/Tangible Assistance for Pets

What if I do not stay in a pet friendly hotel, can I still receive assistance in paying for supplies for my pet?

Yes, if you are a domestic violence survivor and are fleeing a domestic violence situation.


Do you supply goods other than pet store gift cards?

Yes, depending on the need, Crisis Center North will help you obtain pet supplies with limitations.


What type of expenses are covered?

Eligible expenses are cost associated with moving to a new residential location or to remain safely in your own home after the abuser has relocated from the property.  These may include but are not limited to: Moving your and your companion animal’s belongings to a new location; P.O. Box fees; home security; rental payments for permanent living quarters; security deposit, application fee, credit check; utility connection charges; replacement of certain personal items and companion pet items or other expenses associated with assisting in your and your companion animal’s escape to a new housing situation from an abusive situation.

Can I be refunded for amounts that I already spent?

It depends on when the amount spent, but eligible payments can be made to you, you and the vendor, or the vendor only. Please reach out to discuss the specifics details of your situation.

More Information

Facts: The Link between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse

Often domestic violence and animal abuse are linked.

[1] In the United States, more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence each year.
[2] 66% of U.S. households (86.9 million families) own a pet.
[3] According to the Humane Society of the United States, pet abuse is one of four predictors of domestic violence.
[4] Researchers have found that between 71 and 83%of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners also abused or killed the family pet.
[5] Another study found that in families under supervision for physical abuse of their children, pet abuse was concurrent 88% of the time.


[1] National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Domestic violence.” (2020). Retrieved fromhttps://assets.speakcdn.com/assets/2497/domestic_violence-2020080709350855.pdf?1596811079991

[2] World Animal Health Foundation. “Pet Ownership Statistics.”(2023). Retrieved from:  https://worldanimalfoundation.org/advocate/pet-ownership-statistics/

[3-5] Humane Society of the United States. “Animal Cruelty and human violence FAQ.” (2021). Retrieved from:https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/animal-cruelty-and-human-violence-faq#relate