FARMINGTON — Safe Voices in Farmington has received a $20,000 grant from RedRover to ensure its newest domestic abuse shelter is pet friendly. The new location is expected to start taking residents in early 2023 and will be the second shelter by Safe Voices to allow pets.

Safe Voices collaborated with RedRover previously in 2019 with the opening of its Androscoggin County shelter, which was the first domestic abuse shelter in the state of Maine to allow pets.

RedRover partnered with Purina and Rescue Rebuild of in 2019 to provide Safe Voice with $40,000 in grants to make the Androscoggin shelter pet friendly. Grace Kendall, director of Development & Engagement for Safe Voices, said working with RedRover was a great experience and they were anxious to work with them again.

With the grant, Safe Voices’ new Farmington location will create four pet-friendly rooms equipped with special pet furnishings, which will have direct access to an outdoor fenced area for playtime and pet relief. The shelter will be able to shelter cats, dogs, fish, small mammals, and “pocket pets” (hamsters, mice, and rats).

Safe Voice began renovation of the facility in the last 18 months and according to Kendall, RedRover visited the site to offer their input and advice about how best to make the building pet friendly.

“RedRover not only awards the money to complete these renovations, but they have teams of people who come do the work,” Kendall stated. “They are incredibly well versed in the needs of shelter residents, and they truly work hand-in-hand with domestic violence resource centers [DVRCs].”


RedRover is a national organization committed to helping animals escape abuse and domestic violence. To date, RedRover has awarded more than $3 million in Safe Housing grants across the country and has a goal of increasing the number of pet friendly DV shelters in the US from 15% to 25% by 2025

RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth said, “Pets are family and a source of great comfort at a time of crisis. We’re thrilled our grant can help Safe Voices provide spaces for survivors and their beloved pets so that they can begin their healing process together.”

In a press release, Safe Voice provided statistics of domestic violence involving pets.

•  As many as 71% of pet-owning women entering domestic abuse shelters report their abuser injured, killed, or threatened family pets.

•  Up to 48% of domestic abuse victims reported delaying leaving their abusers for fear of what would happen if they had to leave their pets behind.

•  Currently, only 15% of domestic abuse shelters nationwide can house pets.

Safe Voices also saw firsthand how the lives of survivors were improved by having their pets with them at the Androscoggin County shelter. “It was night and day,” Kendall said, “When we pursued the shelter in Farmington, it was never a question of whether or not it would be a pet friendly – it was just about how to make it happen.”

Moving forward, Safe Voices is committed to making sure all future shelters that open will be pet friendly. Its goal is to see Maine be the first state where every DV shelter is pet friendly.

“Safe Voices knows the power of animals to help people heal, and it’s so important to us to ensure that survivors entering our shelter are able to do so with the pet they know, love, and will bring them comfort,” said Safe Voices Director of Shelter & Housing Noelle Coyne. “These animals have often been subject to the abuser’s mistreatment, so having a pet-friendly shelter is not just good for survivors – it’s also safest for pets – and we’re so grateful to work with RedRover, because they understand all of that.”

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