October 24, 2020

New program for helping victims of domestic abuse to keep their pets


New Program — the Marion Dougherty Safe Haven Fund Will Assist Victims of Domestic Violence and their Pets


(JULY 29, 2013 – NEW YORK, NY) Marion Dougherty, the legendary Hollywood casting director, is helping protect the lives of domestic violence victims and their pets, even after her passing. Her estate has donated $80,000 to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals to establish the Marion Dougherty Safe Haven Fund to help victims of domestic violence and their pets to find safety, together.


Called a “one-woman casting revolution,” Dougherty’s career in movies and television spanned 50 years. She cast some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in their earliest roles, including Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Warren Beatty, and suggested Carroll O’Connor for the role of Archie Bunker in the groundbreaking television show, All in the Family.


The donation coincides with the August 5 premiere of the new HBO documentary called Casting By, directed by Tom Donahue, featuring Dougherty as one of Hollywood’s most influential casting directors.


Dougherty died in 2011 at the age of 88. According to Margaret Whitton, a film director who serves as president of Tashtego Films and Co-Executive Producer of Casting By, Marion Dougherty lived a paradox.


“By day, Marion was a powerhouse in film — changing the culture and transforming lives with her uncanny eye for discovering talent. By night, however, she was a victim of spousal abuse,” according to Whitton.


“At age 50, after 20 years of abuse, Marion fled her marriage and was forced to leave behind her beloved cats. She successfully reinvented herself in California, becoming even more esteemed in her profession. But until the effects of repeated concussions and Alzheimer’s took away her magnificent memory, she remained haunted by those animals she had to leave behind. No one should have to make that choice,”  added Whitton, who was one of Dougherty’ closest friends.


The Marion Dougherty Safe Haven Fund will support the Helping Pets and People in Crisis program, an initiative of the Alliance that provides assistance to families in crisis, along with their pets. The Fund will specifically fund the Alliance’s work in finding shelter for domestic violence victims and their pets together, and will also help pay for temporary shelter and care of pets who are separated from their owners in domestic violence situations.


Research has shown a strong link between animal welfare and domestic violence:


  • 48 percent of battered women have delayed their      decision to leave their abuser, or have returned to the abusive situation,      out of fear for the welfare of their animals;
  • 71 percent of battered women reported that their      abusers had harmed, killed, or threatened animals; and
  • 48 percent of battered women reported that animal abuse      had occurred “often” during the past 12 months.


Jane Hoffman, president of the Alliance, said, “Over the past six years, the Alliance has assisted in more than 160 cases involving domestic violence. This generous gift from Marion Dougherty will go a long way to protect vulnerable people and pets and help them remain together during times of crisis. We are deeply grateful to all those who made this extraordinary gift possible.”


Whitton added, “Marion’s legacy of changing lives won’t end with her passing. The Marion Dougherty Fund of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals will help transform the lives of domestic violence victims and their pets, and extend the legacy of this extraordinary woman.”


To learn more about the Marion Dougherty Safe Haven Fund to help victims of domestic violence and their pets, please visit https://www.MDSafeHaven.org. To contribute to this lifesaving fund, visit https://bit.ly/DonateMDSHF.


Contact:       Maggie O’Neill – 917-653-5460

Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals



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The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and no-kill shelters to offer important programs and services to save the lives of NYC’s homeless animals. Receiving no government funding, we are supported by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals. As we mark our tenth anniversary in 2013, we are committed to transforming New   York City into a no-kill community by 2015: where no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org

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