A non-profit program helping victims, and their pets, overcome domestic abuse

A unique program that helps victims overcome an obstacle to escaping a domestic abuser.

It's not something we usually hear about, but fear of what will happen to a pet, can keep victims from leaving an abusive situation.

A new non-profit, 'Pets Empower,' is working to manage that fear.

The founder, Jordan Ross, personally knows how this feels.

"My parents were pretty abusive and violent, and I had this black lab Jazz that I loved. So I left my parents home and I struggled for a year to hang onto a dog."

Most domestic violence shelters didn't accept pets, and Jordan had just graduated college, he couldn't afford his own apartment.

"Thankfully I found, through a social worker, the Stapelton House, which is a men's group home. So men, transitioning out of the Pine Street Home in Boston took care of my black lab for months, and then I reunited with him."

Jordan eventually launched a successful career, with Jazz by his side.

More than a decade later, the experience still stuck with him. So he created Pets Empower.

"We're established now as a non-profit foundation in Rhode Island, and our whole mission is helping the existing infastructure grow."

Pets Empower operates out of the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, matching domestic violence victims with foster homes and support groups.

They also provide funding for food, vaccinations and vet care. Jordan says they've already found temporary homes for 10 pets, spending about $500 per pet, before reuniting them with their owners.

"They're so happy. That's the biggest gift of this program to see that experience."

For the full story from Emily Volz at our sister station, NBC10, click here.

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