Press  Conference to Announce the First Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelter on Long Island


September 30, 2019

Contact: Colleen Merlo

Phone: 631-807-3194


Press  Conference to Announce the First Pet-Friendly Domestic Violence Shelter on Long Island.


CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – L.I. Against Domestic Violence, a leading provider of domestic violence and sexual assault services is pleased to announce the construction project that will result in our domestic violence shelter being able to accommodate victims of domestic violence who have pets. We are especially pleased to make this announcement during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is meant to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence and honor survivors and the lives lost to domestic violence.


The Shelter expansion will be the first domestic violence shelter on Long Island designed to allow for space to accommodate a survivor and pet living together.


According to research cited by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence up to 65% of domestic violence victims delay or can’t escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave and up to 85% of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partner had threatened, injured or killed their pet.


However, only about 8 percent of domestic violence shelters in the United States permit pets. This leaves victims of domestic violence and pets in danger, as survivors often delay or never leave because they have nowhere to take a pet and fear what will happen if the pet is left behind.


According to Colleen Merlo, Executive Director of L.I. Against Domestic Violence, “The organization has helped hundreds of pets gain safety by working with local animal organizations and rescue groups to foster pets when a victim of domestic violence enters our shelter or goes to stay with a family member or friend where a pet cannot be accommodated. But this option still leaves many victims of violence and pets in harm’s way and it’s not best practice for the human or the pet to be separated, especially immediately after a traumatic event. We are thrilled to be taking the next step in providing safety for victims of domestic violence and their pets. Co-living is an improvement over fostering and will open the possibility of shelter to families and individuals who never thought we could help them and their furry friends.”


LIADV’s Paws for a Cause Program will develop a safe place for pets to stay at the shelter. This will allow victims to gain safety, while keeping families intact and allow  survivors and their children the benefit of comfort, reassurance and healing that family pets offer. The project is slated to be complete ahead of the holidays.


County Executive, Steve Bellone said this of the project, “This initiative will significantly help with the mental and logistical impacts of domestic violence by providing a safe space for both survivors and their pets. For the more than 12 million men and women who fall victim to domestic violence, this is welcome news at a time they need comforting the most.”


Initial funding for this project is from the Mary Kay Foundation and through private donors.



Event Details:        Press Conference


When:                      Wednesday, October 2, 2019


Where:                     L.I. Against Domestic Violence

                                  Non-residential Office

                                   320 Carleton Ave.

                                   Central Islip, NY 11722


Time:                        11:00a.m.


Order of Speakers:   


Executive Director of L.I. Against Domestic Violence, Colleen Merlo


Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone


Suffolk County Police Commissioner, Geraldine Hart


Mandy, Survivor of domestic violence



Interview opportunities will be available.


L.I. Against Domestic Violence provides a range of services that help over 14,000 Long Island adults and children each year to escape from abusive relationships and build new lives. Founded in 1976, we are a regional pioneer and leader in empowering victims and survivors, providing them with shelter and support, and working with law enforcement and the community to prevent abuse.

The Mary Kay Foundation was created in 1996 and its two-fold mission includes funding women's cancer research and ending domestic violence. Over the course of more than two decades, The Mary Kay Foundation has awarded more than $78 million to women's shelters and domestic violence service providers. As well as, cancer research programs and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay Foundation and its mission visit