Noah's Animal House Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Noah's Animal House Reno

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At first glance, it might look like a puppy play date to passersby. However, on an empty lot in Reno, a half-dozen dogs served as the guests of honor. The doggy dignitaries represented the pets who will soon benefit from the shelter going up on the campus of the Committee to Aid Abused Women. It will be called Noah’s Animal House and it is designed to house 36 pets – belonging to victims of domestic violence - at any given time. "We don't want to turn down any woman.  We've had turtles, we've had birds, we've had hamsters and we've had snakes,” Staci Alonso rattles off.

CAAW Executive Director, Denise Yoxsimer says this partnership fills a huge need in our community. "We learned that 86 of [recently surveyed] callers opted not to use our emergency services because we could not accommodate their pets." The solution was already up and running in Las Vegas where 10 years ago, Staci opened the first stand-alone, full-service pet boarding house in the United States - exclusively for victims of domestic abuse. Trish Steffen learned about Noah's Animal House Las Vegas after an abusive relationship left her homeless. "I've never been homeless before and I really didn't know what to do." All Trish had left were her two dogs and a cat. "You know, I started thinking about the logistics of living in my car and it's like I could never get a job. What would I do with my animals if I get a job?" The transitional housing afforded them a safe place - with kennels, a feline sun room, a dog spa and even private cuddle rooms. "And that's the only thing that gave me a sense of serenity." Trish is now back on her feet and an advocate for Noah’s Animal House. She is thrilled that it is not only expanding, but also getting national attention from longtime supporters, like Senator Dean Heller - who also brought his dog. "Nobody should have to choose between their own safety and the safety of their own animals,” said Senator Heller.

With an outpouring of community donations and support, the 1,300 square foot home could open by October, which Staci says is especially timely. "To be in business before the holidays - before it really spikes - is just a dream come true.” Noah's Animal House offers food and vet services for free - for the pets and victims of abuse. It has kept more than 1,200 pets safe and united with their families since its inception nearly a decade ago.

Staci is also proud of what lawmakers accomplished with the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act – which now allows any member of a household to be considered a victim of domestic violence: spouses or partners, children, elderly relatives, even companion animals. According to lawmakers, in a variety of surveys of domestic violence survivors, upwards of 86% reported that their pets had been threatened, harmed, or killed by their partners.

To learn more about Noah’s Animal House or the Committee to Aid Abused Women, click on the following links:

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