A few years ago, Kansas Citians Matt Krentz and Andy Bond were listening to a local radio show when they learned a shocking statistic: 50% of 24-hour hotline callers to the Overland Park-based domestic violence shelter, Safehome, choose to stay in life-threatening situations when they learn they can’t bring their pets.
The Kansas City area has a few domestic violence shelters that can house survivors and their pets, but most can’t, and 95% of shelters across the United States can’t either. For those who have to leave their pet behind, 70% of those animals will be abused or killed.
“We immediately contacted Safehome and were invited to tour their facility,” says Krentz. “After observing the children’s playroom and realizing most of these kids and abuse victims had to abandon their pets, we felt a responsibility to create a solution to this crisis.”
“Over the next 12 months, we toured various domestic violence shelters across the country, gathered requirements, and raised the capital to develop a first-of-its-kind solution to help,” adds Bond.
The result? BestyBNB, a Kansas City-based organization that offers web-based solutions to assist shelters in finding short- and long-term foster home placements for pets who can’t be housed in shelters.
BestyBNB officially launched in October 2021 and signed on with seven local domestic violence shelters: Rose Brooks Center, Hope House, Synergy Services, Safehome, Hope Haven of Cass County, YWCA-St. Joseph, and Newhouse.
“From a cost, staffing, and space perspective, incorporating an on-site animal shelter is not an option for most organizations,” says Kim Shaw-Ellis, a community police liaison at Synergy Services Domestic Violence Shelter. “After so many years of seeing survivors of abuse stay in dangerous situations to save their four-legged friends, I am very thankful to work with BestyBnB as one of the first shelters to deploy this solution. This resource is literally going to save the lives of humans and pets.”
Since BestyBNB’s launch, the six shelters have seen a 100 percent success rate in finding foster home placements for survivors who needed help housing their pets.
Do you want to help out? Sign up to become a pet caregiver, or get in touch with local shelters to see what else you can do (shelter contact info in the links above).