In rural Rensselaer County, you can find Tracy Muscatello-Crowley caring for abused and neglected animals at HeartsHerd Animal Sanctuary.
She’s expanding her ability to care for them in a big way – a partnership with Unity House’s Domestic Violence Services. It’s possible thanks to a three-year, $400,000 grant to help Unity House fund emergency pet housing.
Nationally, 85% of domestic violence victims say their pet was also abused, and 48% of battered women delay leaving an abuser out of concern for their pets.
“I had a victim come into our program seeking shelter. She fled the abusive situation with the clothes off her back. She had to leave behind a puppy because she was fleeing in secrecy, and the perpetrator started sending her snapchat videos of him kicking this nine month old puppy, in to within an inch of this dog’s life,” said Unity House’s Domestic Violence Services Outreach Program Director Sarah McGaughnea.
Unity House already has a partnership with Mohawk Hudson Humane Society to help shelter and care for domestic pets, but this grant will allow them to expand that service to victims with large breeds.
“We had victims coming to us with cows, sheep, pigs, alpacas — anything you can think of,” said McGaughnea.
The funding will also help Unity House provide domestic violence victims with safe and affordable housing to start rebuilding their lives. The goal? Turning victims to survivors and reuniting them with their companions.
“Animals are the most unique and wonderful form of unconditional love so to know that someone can feel like they can be safe because their loved one is safe means the world to me,” said Muscatello-Crowley.
For more information, visit Unity House’s website here.