Russell Wilson Joins Banfield Foundation to Help Protect People and Their Pets from Domestic Violence

Pro football champion and pet advocate Russell Wilson enjoys a moment with his dog, TBD, while filming a Safer Together public service announcement (PSA) with the Banfield Foundation on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Redmond, Wash. The PSA is now airing nationally, timed with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to help drive awareness that pets are often victims of domestic violence too. Many domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations because they fear for the safety of their pet, so the Banfield Foundation aims to educate and provide resources for pet owners, advocates and communities to help make a difference for pets and the people who love them. (Stephen Brashear/AP Images for the Banfield Foundation)

Russell Wilson has his team on the field, the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, and then he has his team at home, which consists of four dogs — three great Danes and one “fierce” senior Malti-poo.

“The great Danes just want to lay on your lap all the time,” the quarterback tells PEOPLE. “Ciara and I will be trying to have a date night, watching a movie, and all of the sudden there’s three great Danes laying across our laps.”

Wilson and his wife, singer Ciara, count all the canines as members of their family, even if the dogs have a hard time understanding personal space.

With this close bond to his pets, Wilson can sympathize with the difficult choices pet owners living in domestic violence situations have to face.

“The reality is about half of domestic violence victims stay in abusive situations because they fear about the safety of their pet,” Wilson says, adding that only about “10 percent of domestic violence shelter allow pets.”

This leaves pet owners in abusive situations with limited options. Wilson has partner with the Banfield Foundation to help change this grim reality, so pet owners can have “shelter and safety along with their pets.”

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Kelli Bender