Animal Welfare Grants Offer Domestic Violence Victims Shelter Options for their Pets


Inside the fenced-in yard built for dogs, Ivy was having her day, happy and safe in her temporary home while her owner was getting the help she needed in a nearby building.

Ivy was running around the kennel built on the secured property owned by CASA, a domestic violence shelter for women in the Tampa Bay area. The newly added kennel, thanks, in part, to a grant from RedRover Safe Housing program, gives domestic violence victims peace of mind knowing that they can leave an abusive situation and bring their pets with them.

Without the kennel at Community Action Stops Abuse, Ivy might have been left to fend for herself in a dangerous environment. More than 70 percent of pet owning women who enter domestic violence shelters claim their batterer had injured, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or psychological control. And as many as 65 percent of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they fear what will happen to their pets when they leave.

RedRover, a national nonprofit organization based in Sacramento, has distributed more than $40,000 in grants to eight domestic violence shelters throughout the United States. The grants help to pay for building materials and supplies used to create animal-friendly lodging for the pets of victims fleeing abuse. Red Rover funding opportunities are posted on

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch, said the search engine lists additional funding opportunities for a broad range of animal welfare programs, projects, and activities for both domestic pets and wildlife. GrantWatch also displays numerous grants for domestic abuse nonprofits.

Only a fraction of the 2,500 domestic violence shelters in the United States have facilities for housing animals onsite, according to Sheltering Animals and Families Together (SAF-T), a national initiative that guides family violence shelters on how to welcome families with pets.


Gigi Tsontos, chief executive officer at the Women’s Transitional Living Center, said the domestic violence shelter in Orange County California often receives calls from families that would not leave abusive environments without their pets.

Those victims will now have options, thanks to a $6,000 Safe Housing grant from RedRover that will help WLTC complete the transition to a pet-friendly facility. Funds from the grant helped construct an insulated outdoor structure that is capable of housing larger pets at the shelter.

Tsontos, an owner of three dogs, said prior to the grant, abuse victims housed at WTLC shared their living spaces with their pets. Now, counselors at the nonprofit ask each caller if there is a pet in the household. One of those callers had been wanting to escape his abuser for at least a year, but he couldn’t find a shelter that would take his dog. Today, the dog and owner are safe and living together in an apartment provided by WTLC.

Nonprofits, public and private foundations, small businesses and entrepreneurs frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for animal welfare grants and grants for domestic abuse nonprofits can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at Sign-up here to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for

Libby Hikind

Libby Hikind, began her grant writing career while working as a teacher in the New York City Department of Education. She wrote many grants for her classroom before raising $11 million for a Brooklyn school district. Throughout her professional career, she established her own grant writing agency in Staten Island with a fax newsletter for her clients of available grants. After retiring from teaching, Libby embraced the new technology and started GrantWatch. She then moved GrantWatch and her grant writing agency to Florida to enjoy her parents later years, and the rest is history. Today more than 250,000 people visit online, monthly.

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