For many women in domestic violence situations, they will not leave the situation because they don’t want to leave their pets behind. Abusers will often hurt pets to ultimately also hurt their partner. That is one huge reason that many women will not utilize going to a women’s shelter. Most shelters even post signs out front that say no pets allowed. One woman has made it her mission to have a solution to this problem.
When Staci Alonso was going through her divorce, she leaned on her dogs for love and support. Later she learned that the majority of domestic violence shelters won’t allow victims to bring in pets. So many women stay in abusive relationships because they won’t leave their pets behind. She knew that she wanted to bring a solution to this problem.
“I couldn’t imagine being in that type of situation,” Staci said. “Finding the courage to leave and having to leave them behind, or not having them with them when they needed them the most. I thought, ‘Oh no, no, no. We’re gonna change that.’”
Staci launched a pet boarding facility in 2007 across the parking lot of a domestic violence shelter, The Shade Tree Shelter in Las Vegas. She named the place Noah’s Animal House, after her son Noah. The close proximity to the shelter means that women can visit their pets there anytime that they want. That way they can take their pets with them when they leave an abusive relationship. The pets also serve as support as they recover from the abuse.
For some women, Noah’s Animal House has literally been a lifesaver.
“They saved my life. I really felt like I had a soft place to fall. I know I would not be here today if it weren’t for Staci and her idea,” said one victim.
“Less than 10% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. offer pet services,” Staci said. “No woman should feel stuck in an abusive relationship because she can’t imagine leaving her pet behind to be tortured or killed.”
Thank you, Staci, for what you have done for women and for animals.