Your Community. Your Newspaper.

Bradford YWCA named as recipient of Purple Leash Project grant

Purina and the nonprofit RedRover have awarded five Purple Leash Project grants to help local domestic violence shelters make pet-friendly transformations, upgrades and provide resources to survivors and their pets, including outdoor pet play yards, kennels, supplies and veterinary care.
A recipient of one of the five grants awarded this year, the YWCA of Bradford in McKean County, Pennsylvania will receive $19,000 to create a separate building on the property to house pets so that their owners can be close and care for them, all while accommodating survivors who may be allergic to dogs or cats.
“We are very excited about this project as it can alleviate one of the many barriers survivors face when leaving a potentially life-threatening situation,” said Angela Erway, the YWCA’s Director of Communications and Development.
According to YWCA Program Director Shelley Alcorn, the YWCA was at one time fortunate enough to have two shelters, one being pet-friendly.
“When we combined the two shelter spaces, we saw the impact it was having on survivors coming into shelter, not being allowed to bring their pets. There was additionally the added worry of those in shelter who have allergies and the liability of animals reactions to those who they are not used to,” explained Alcorn. “In 2021, we began seeking grants that would help alleviate these barriers that our community was facing. In Dec. of 2021, we were notified by the Purina Purple Leash Project that we were awarded money to develop a safe space for animals, separate from the shelter, but on the same property. This will allow survivors who are fleeing domestic violence to seek shelter for not only themselves but family pets as well.”
Unfortunately, all too often, if a victim decides they are going to leave a volatile situation, the family pet is the first thing an abuser will threaten to harm if they leave.
“It is incredibly hard for a victim and their children to come into our shelter, into a new setting with other individuals who they may not know. This grant will allow us to have families bring a positive piece of home when they come to shelter,” said Alcorn.
Through the Purple Leash Project, Purina and RedRover are working to create more pet-friendly shelters and provide more resources so that survivors with pets can escape abuse and heal together. Currently only 15% of domestic violence shelters in the United States allow pets and almost half of abuse survivors, 48%, will delay leaving their abuser if they can’t take their pet with them into a shelter.
“The Purple Leash Project is focused on easing a survivor’s decision to leave abuse,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and President of Purina. “Knowing that there are resources available to them and their four-legged family members aides in their decision to leave. By working together with RedRover, we’ve helped to provide more than 33,000 safe nights for domestic abuse survivors and their pets with much more work to be done.”
The other four shelters funded this year will use their Purple Leash Project grants to fund projects and services unique to the needs of their location:
Family Violence Prevention Center in Ohio will receive $46,055 to build on-site kennels and create an outdoor fenced-in play area with the remaining funds going toward pet supplies, laundry supplies and air purifiers for bedrooms and their indoor dog room.
The Rhode Island Sojourner House will receive $21,800 to house pets at one of their three shelters and foster care through the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Spring in Oklahoma will receive $10,000 to build kennels, a visitation area, and an outdoor play area and Services to Abused Families in Virginia will receive $7,950 to renovate the barn on the property to house dogs and cats and create a bathing station for the pets to stay clean and sanitary during their stay.
With this latest round of funding, 30 grants totaling more than $500,000 have now been gifted to domestic violence shelters across the US by Purina. Since the Purple Leash Project was founded in 2019, Purina has provided more than $1 million in funding and is working together with RedRover toward a goal of helping to ensure that at least 25% of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly by 2025.
“We are so grateful for Purina, RedRover and the Purple Leash Project for providing funds that allow us to build a safe haven for animals whose owners are fleeing a domestic violence situation,” said Alcorn. “Our program team is very excited to begin this adventure as our community can vastly benefit from these resources.”
The purple leash serves as a visible symbol of an invisible struggle for domestic abuse victims and their pets. Purple represents domestic violence awareness, and the leash symbolizes the unbreakable bond between pets and their owners.
To learn more about the Purple Leash Project, donate or sign up for ongoing updates, visit
If you know someone who is being abused and ready to leave with their pet, they can find information on pet-friendly shelters in their area at