With rates of domestic violence increasing each year , the need for crisis accommodation for pets has also been on the rise in Australia. To ensure emergency services can continue to help pet owners experiencing violence, the Petbarn Foundation has donated $100k to RSPCA QLD’s Pets in Crisis program to help survivors and their pets this Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

RSPCA QLD’s Pets in Crisis program provides safe, reliable temporary emergency accommodation and vet care for pets while their owners work to escape domestic violence situations.

The donation comes during a time when RSPCA QLD Pets in Crisis expects that over 350 individuals and their dependants in the state impacted by domestic violence will need emergency boarding for their pets every year. 

Petbarn Foundation Manager, Janelle Bloxsom says, “Survivors of domestic violence have indicated they were hesitant to leave home because they worry about the safety of their pets being left behind with the perpetrator. That's why the Petbarn Foundation is continuing to fund programs like RSPCA QLD's Pets in Crisis, which helps ensure the safety of both people and their pets in need. 

“As the incidence of domestic violence rises in Australia, we're working with Pets in Crisis during Domestic Violence Awareness month to spread the word that support services are available for pet owners experiencing family violence, including emergency housing and support for their furry companions.”

According to the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office the number of domestic violence offences reported increased by 17.1% in 2021-2022 . Across Australia, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men over the age of 15  have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner. 

Nanda Ten-grotenhuis, Head of Animal Experience at RSPCA QLD, says, “Pets in Crisis program ensures that beloved family pets are safe and protected while their owners get themselves to safety. 

“Since January 1, the program has already helped 70 pets with accommodation and basic vet services, and now with the generous support from the Petbarn Foundation. We can extend this service to provide ongoing care and support for pets caught in domestic violence situations, through our Pets in Crisis and Community Outreach programs.”

It is not uncommon for animals to be threatened or harmed by abusers in an effort to control their partners in violent relationships. Research shows that 25% of women in violent situations remain out of concern for what their abuser will do to their beloved pet. 

“Finding temporary accommodation for pets is a very important step in the journey of people fleeing domestic violence as often they would stay in unsafe situations for fear of their pets being hurt. 

“RSPCA Qld is proud to have been offering the Pets in Crisis program in partnership with DV Connect in Queensland, to ensure we give people the opportunity to get themselves and their pets to safety.”

A state-wide increase in demand for the Pets in Crisis program has necessitated an expansion of the program to provide additional veterinary care and support for pets in the RSPCA’s care. 

The Pets in Crisis program is approximately $25 per animal per day to run (plus associated costs such as foster care, transport, program staff and veterinary costs), with the animals remaining in the program for an average of 33 days, the donation from Petbarn Foundation will cover a significant portion of the running costs and veterinary care.

“Owners who enter their pets into the Pets in Crisis program can be assured their beloved pet will receive the best of care until they can be safely reunited with their family,” says Janelle Bloxsom. 

“No one should feel trapped in their home because they fear their pets will be harmed.”

This year, 42 pets in the program have already been reunited their families, with some being transported over State borders.