Sending Office: Honorable Katherine M. Clark
Sent By:

Sign on by COB April 15

Dear Colleague,

We hope you will join us in ensuring that any CARES 2.0 package includes additional funding to support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals. Reports of domestic violence have skyrocketed
across the country in recent weeks as stay-at-home orders are subjecting many victims of abuse to prolonged periods of isolation with their abuser. COVID-19 related job loss and additional child care burdens have also increased the likelihood of domestic violence
incidents, and there is mounting concern that support services will be unable to meet the growing need for their assistance.

Research has also shown that the challenge of leaving an abusive relationship is magnified by the existence of a family pet. Roughly
one-third of domestic violence victims delay their departure from abusive relationships out of concern over the fate of their pet. Abusers frequently exploit the emotional bond between victim and pet as a control mechanism; inflicting
abuse or the threat of abuse as a means to impose their will. These threats often continue even after a victim has escaped the abuse. One study reports that as many as
25% of victims return to their abuser out of fear for their pet.

Congress has already moved to address this issue with the passage of the the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act in the 2018 Farm Bill, but we are concerned that the $2 million appropriated for this program in FY21 is insufficient to meet the surge in need brought
about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, in addition to significant increases in Violence Against Women Act program funding, we are requesting the inclusion of an additional $4 million for the Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance
grant program in any upcoming recovery package to support vulnerable populations during this crisis. We hope you will join us in addressing the immediate, increased needs of domestic violence survivors and their companion animals.

To sign on to the letter, please contact Casey Davison,
no later than COB April 15.


Katherine Clark
Member of Congress

Katie Porter
Member of Congress

Brian Fitzpatrick
Member of Congress