Monday, October 19, 2015

URI, Purina Unveil Manhattan's First Dog Park in a Domestic Violence Shelter

Nathaniel Fields, CEO and president of URI (center) with Purina veterinarian Dr. Kurt Venator (next to Mr. Fields on the right) and local dignitaries celebrate the opening of the Purina Pet Haven and Dog Park in Manhattan
This post is sponsored by Purina. 

For victims of domestic violence, having a safe place to go with their pets can be huge source of comfort and the first step toward healing. As many as 48 percent of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations because they don’t want to leave their pets behind*. They fear that the abuser might harm the animal if there’s no one there to protect it—a fear that, sadly, is well-founded, as pets are easy targets for abuse.

That's why Nestlé Purina PetCare is partnering with the Urban Resource Institute (URI)  in support of URIPALS (URI People and Animals Living Safely). United by the belief that people and pets are better together, URI and Purina hope to raise awareness about the impact of abuse on the entire family—including pets—and reduce barriers to escape and recovery.

Last week, URI and Purina took one more step  to reducing those barriers at the unveiling of the Purina Pet Haven, Manhattan's first-ever dog park in a domestic violence shelter.

The Purina Pet Haven will offer survivors of domestic violence and their pets a safe and calming retreat

The new dog park is located at Urban Women’s Retreat (UWR), a emergency shelter that is part of the URIPALS program. URIPALS is the only program in New York City and one of the few nationally that allows survivors of domestic violence to live in shelter with their pets. To date, URIPALS has helped 43 families with 63 pets, including 38 cats, 18 dogs, and a range of smaller animals, such as reptiles and fish, escape domestic violence.

Sponsored by Purina, which funded the design and construction of the dog park, the Purina Pet Haven will provide survivors of domestic violence and their families (including pets) with a safe and calming retreat in which to heal together while in shelter.

Dogs will have places to climb, tunnel and play at the new Purina Pet Haven in Manhattan

The opening of the new dog park builds upon Purina’s previous support of the URIPALS program. In the spring of 2014, Purina also sponsored the creation of the Purina Play Haven at URI’s Safe Haven shelter in Brooklyn, the first-ever dog park at a domestic violence shelter in New York City. Since its opening, the park at Safe Haven has served as a vital component in the healing process for a number of families and their pets. 

“Through the URIPALS program we have witnessed first-hand how important it is for survivors to have their beloved pets by their side while they heal,” said Nathaniel Fields, President and CEO of URI. “From early on in the URIPALS program, Purina has been committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence and their pets. We know that the new dog park will play an integral part in helping our clients heal, and for that we are extremely grateful to Purina.”

URI and Purina’s collaboration in support of URIPALS brings together one of New York City’s largest domestic violence service providers and a leader in the pet care industry around the closely linked issues of animal abuse and domestic violence. 

“For most pet owners, the bond with their pet is incredibly strong, and for people in abusive relationships their pet can be an important source of comfort,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina veterinarian.  “Purina is very proud to support the Urban Resource Institute in its efforts to keep families and their pets together during this time of healing.”

As part of its support for the URIPALS program, Purina is also donating Purina ONE brand dog food, Purina Cat Chow brand cat food, along with other dog treats and cat litter. In addition, Purina is working with URI to provide supplies for welcome kits for families bringing pets to Urban Women’s Retreat, including pet travel carriers, safety gates, pet beds, pet feeding and watering bowls, cat scratching posts, leashes and pet toys.

To learn more about URIPALS and for tips on keeping the entire family safe in domestic violence situations, please visit

* Frank Ascione, Ph.D. , Utah State University, 1997, 1998


  1. I am a Domestic Violence Survivor - have you read our story on our Blog ?

    1. I just did! Thanks so much for sharing it, and we're so, so glad you and your pups have "made it through the rain." (Layla is so adorable, btw!)