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Shelter the Whole Family conference, sponsored by Bayer, strengthens Kansas City community by highlighting importance of human-animal bond

SHAWNEE, Kan., May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Fido. Baxter. Sparky and Lady. Beloved pets provide everything from physical exercise and companionship to a sense of safety or a reason to live. There is growing evidence that pets’ positive influence results in many physical, psychological and relational benefits like quality of life and well-being. This positive influence, often referred to as the human animal bond, is something that nonprofit and for-profit organizations like Bayer, recognize and support. And that support can be lifesaving, especially for domestic violence survivors.

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“I waited for two months for the pet shelter to open so I could be free from the man that abused me. He would track me down and as many times as I was brutalized or hurt, I would not have left without my four-legged family.” – Abby, domestic violence survivor

More than 50 percent of domestic violence survivors like Abby, say they are unable to escape abusive relationships because they worry about what will happen to their pet when they leave.1 Rose Brooks Center, with support from Bayer, created PAWS Place, a healing space for survivors of domestic violence to escape danger and heal with their pets. It’s shelters like Rose Brooks Center that offer a solution to a growing an unmet need for families seeking an abuse-free life with their pets. Currently, less than 5 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide can accommodate pets on-site. The greater Kansas City area hosts about a dozen of these pet friendly shelters and the Shelter the Whole Family conference aims to expand this reach even further.

The collaboration between Bayer and Rose Brooks Center is an important link in providing the community with the information and infrastructure needed to build and fund more shelters like PAWS Place. These shelters provide a critical support system for those in need and offer a positive catalyst toward a new start when it’s needed most.

“Our goal in hosting Shelter the Whole Family is really to educate and activate organizations in the greater Kansas City area on the growing and timely need for pet friendly healing facilities,” says Zoe Agnew-Svoboda, Pet Advocate, Rose Brooks Center. “If more organizations are able to offer pet services or fundraise for groups to support keeping the whole family together, our entire community benefits.”

Shelter the Whole Family

The Shelter the Whole Family conference aims to provide a variety of organizations, including but not limited to domestic violence shelters, non-profits, public libraries and social service agencies with education and actionable steps to keep victims of domestic violence and homelessness and their pets safely together. Today’s discussions illustrate the importance of providing these individuals with a choice between remaining in an abusive relationship and leaving pets with the abuser. Such an event is the beginning of an important, ongoing dialogue that offers the potential to make the Kansas City community better, stronger and safer.

“No one should have to choose between their safety and their pet. It’s collaborative events like Shelter the Whole Family that eliminate that egregious choice by helping the community understand the root problem and bridge the gaps,” says Lauren Dorsch, Deputy Director, Bayer Animal Health U.S. “Having expert partners like Rose Brooks Center, RedRover and make bridging the gaps to achieve a stronger community attainable.”

Produced in conjunction with Rose Brooks Center, the first-time event included speakers from Bayer,, RedRover and Rose Brooks Center. More information about the event can be found here.

“The Kansas City Public Library is here to hear more about the human-animal bond and learn more about the co-sheltering services available in the community,” says Kelly Berry, Outreach VISTA Leader, Kansas City Public Library. “Through the Library’s Coffee and Conversation programming, we help build relationships and partnerships, offering information to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to the resources available in the community.”

The life-saving event included discussion on the following topics:

  • The Human / Animal Bond – Bryn Donnelly,
  • The Link / Animal Abuse and Human Violence – Katie Campbell, RedRover and Zoe Agnew-Soboda, Rose Brooks Center
  • Animal Behavior and Veterinary Care – Dr. Dan Carey, Bayer Animal Health
  • Co-sheltering – Funding and Construction – Bryn Donnelly, and Katie Campbell, RedRover
  • Pet Shelter, Operations and Procedures, Including Service Animal and ESA Regulations – Zoe Agnew-Soboda, Rose Brooks Center 

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to

About Rose Brooks Center
Rose Brooks Center offers domestic violence services and programming in the Kansas City Metro area and beyond. Rose Brooks Center has been providing services to adults, children, and their pets since 1978.

Lauren Dorsch

Bayer Animal Health


Mobile: 913-827-6306

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Bayer® and the Bayer Cross® are registered trademarks of Bayer.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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