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Associated Press
Peppah, a pet chiquawa, wears a doggie coat while being carried by her owner to their apartment, inside a shelter for victims of domestic violence, Tuesday March 18, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

More domestic violence shelters are taking in pets

Associated Press
A pet friendly abuse shelter holds a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new dog run, Tuesday March 18, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Associated Press
Peppah, a pet Chihuahua, plays outside in a dog run at a shelter for victims of domestic violence, Tuesday March 18, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Associated Press
Pamela Isaac and one of her three cats, Lucy, inside their apartment at a shelter for victims of domestic violence, Tuesday March 18, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

– A shelter in New York City quietly harbors domestic violence survivors, their children and – now – their pets.

It's the first animal friendly facility among the 50-plus emergency domestic violence shelters in the nation's largest city. And it's one in a fast-growing number of similar sanctuaries around the country.

A leading advocate says the numbers have shot up from four nationwide in 2008 to at least 73 now, with 15 more being planned.

They reflect growing awareness that animals can be victims of family violence and key factors in their owners' willingness to flee.

The New York shelter began allowing cats and pocket pets in June and dogs last month. It's run by the Urban Resource Institute, with help from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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