Support the Paws for Peace Kennel at Harbor House

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Are you a pet owner? If so, could you ever leave your pet with someone who would harm, torture or kill them? Could you imagine leaving them forever, never knowing what happened to them in the hands of that dangerous person?


Every 15 seconds, a woman is battered by her partner in the United States. People often ask the question…why doesn’t she just leave?

The answer is complex but often, a woman in an abusive relationship is unable to make the heartbreaking decision to leave her beloved pet behind.

In a national survey of domestic violence survivors, 85% of women seeking safety in a domestic violence shelter reported pet abuse in their home. Of all survivors who enter shelters to escape abuse, 57% have had a pet harmed or killed by their abuser.

In fact, up to 48% of domestic violence survivors delay leaving their abuser out of fear of what will happen to their pets.

That’s why the movement toward on-site housing for domestic violence survivors’ pets has garnered national attention. Harbor House of Central Florida has worked for the past several years to bring this innovative idea to our Emergency Shelter.

We are thrilled to finally bring the Paws for Peace Kennel to life and provide the very best in care, protection and shelter for four-legged survivors of domestic violence.

Harbor House is be the only shelter in Central Florida with an on-site kennel for pets, ensuring no family member is left behind in an abusive home.


  • The 1,500 square foot Kennel is located onsite at Harbor House’s confidential Emergency Shelter. It is housed in a dual-purpose building that includes the Dr. Phillips Charities In-Kind Donation Center.
  • The Paws for Peace Kennel is a state-of-the-art facility that serves as a national model for on-site kenneling at domestic violence shelters and opened in December 2012.
  • Operations of the Kennel are supported by the Paws for Peace Walk and donor contributions.
  • The Kennel features an examination room, grooming area, 10 kennels for dogs and 10 for cats, as well as spaces for other pets, such as ferrets, birds, hamsters and other “pocket pets.”
  • Best practices and industry standards for sheltering/boarding will be implemented at all times. Ongoing consultations will be provided by Orange County Animal Services and an Advisory Council of community experts.


Thank you to our generous partners:

Orange County Animal Services
SeaWorld Cares
Community Foundation of Central Florida
The Dawn Brancheau Foundation
Shampooch! (Lambs Eat Ivy Salon)
Florida Department of Children and Families
Gloria Lindsey
Dr. & Mrs. James Yoachim
Hollywood Houndz
MOMs Club of Orlando-Conway
Tamara Bettinger