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Domestic violence shelter being custom-built to include pets

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NEW YORK (AP) - From easy-to-clean floors to a grooming room to a color palette toned for dog and cat eyes, a building rising in New York is clearly a place for pets.

[img]http://media5.picsearch.com/is?c73UvN_aRNkGGF-NUjoWpd3fnhbAEN7qfsWtPYdwUaQ after that, the family would have to consider giving her up. Dawson still gets emotional thinking what that would have been like for kids who had already been through a lot.

"The way she just looks and interacts with us and makes us feel so comforted and cared for, that was something that would not be able to be replaced, and we needed it so much," says Dawson, 32. "When she was reunited with us, it really did bring that light back into our situation."

URI's facilities have welcomed 118 animals in four years - cats, dogs, turtles, birds, fish, a guinea pig and a bearded dragon.

The new seven-story, 30-apartment shelter will have a shared pet-grooming room and a secluded dog park, so residents fearful of abusers finding them don't have to leave to walk dogs.

Windows won't open wide enough for cats to get out, but there may be shelves so felines can look outside. Flooring won't be too slippery or too sticky for paws. Paint won't be bright white, as some manmade white materials may appear fluorescent to cats and dogs, Venator said.

Dawson, meanwhile, moved her family into its own apartment after six months in shelter. She's working as a ride-hailing service driver, her kids are in middle school, and Coco is doing well.

"When life happens and it comes at you really hard, having a pet," she says, "really does help."

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Online: Urban Resource Institute pet-friendly shelter program: website

This undated photo, provided by Urban Resource Institute, shows renderings for the first domestic violence shelter custom-built to accommodate pets, which advocates say is a factor in some victims' decisions to leave their abusers. Organizers say this one is the first specifically designed for every apartment to house people with pets. (Kerstin Vom Hagen/Urban Resource Institute via AP)

This undated photo, provided by Urban Resource Institute, shows renderings for the first domestic violence shelter custom-built to accommodate pets, which advocates say is a factor in some victims' decisions to leave their abusers. (Kerstin Vom Hagen/Urban Resource Institute via AP)

This undated photo, provided by Urban Resource Institute, shows renderings for the first domestic violence shelter custom-built to accommodate pets, which advocates say is a factor in some victims' decisions to leave their abusers. (Kerstin Vom Hagen/Urban Resource Institute via AP)

This undated photo, provided by Urban Resource Institute, shows renderings for the first domestic violence shelter custom-built to accommodate pets, which advocates say is a factor in some victims' decisions to leave their abusers. Organizers say this one is the first specifically designed for every apartment to house people with pets. (Kerstin Vom Hagen/Urban Resource Institute via AP)

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