GOVERNMENT GRANT A LIFELINE FOR PETS IN CRISIS
RSPCA WA welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, the Hon Simone McGurk MLA, of a one-off funding commitment of $100,000 by the WA Labor Government to support the organisation’s Pets in Crisis trial program.
The Pets in Crisis program offers a temporary home for pets from households experiencing family and domestic violence while their owner seeks refuge or temporary accommodation of their own, helping to alleviate some of the logistical stress of removing themselves and their loved ones from a dangerous home environment.
RSPCA WA recognised the need for such a scheme based on the experiences of its Inspectors who regularly attend call outs to homes where family and domestic violence is evident.
RSPCA WA launched a small pilot program in January this year, confirming the value of the program through the uptake by families affected by family and domestic violence.
During the Pets in Crisis pilot program, RSPCA WA provided refuge for six pets while their owners found more permanent accommodation of their own where they would be safe from harm. All owners utilised the full three month care period available where the animals were cared for by foster carers and also received rehabilitation support. Each has since been happily reunited with their loving owners, under safer circumstances.
Bruno* is one of the program’s success stories. RSPCA WA placed him with a Pets in Crisis foster carer through his owner’s case worker as she and her two daughters transitioned through a women’s refuge to escape a violent home. Bruno was regularly punched in the head, dragged along the floor and kicked by his owner’s violent partner. As a result of this cruel treatment, Bruno had developed behavioural issues.
Bruno was placed with an experienced foster carer who kept him safe, and worked on his behaviour issues under guidance from RSPCA behaviour specialists. During his time in foster care Bruno overcame some of his fearful behaviour, socialised with other animals and even learnt to swim.
After three months in the program, Bruno’s family were overcome with emotion when they were reunited with their beloved pet in their new safe environment.
RSPCA WA President, Lynne Bradshaw, welcomes the injection of funding into this much needed community support program, which will increase the program’s capacity to help more animals at risk.
“Sadly there are many families in our community who are living in family or domestic violence households, and many of these families have pets, who they understandably care very deeply about,” Ms Bradshaw said.
“Research indicates that a large percentage of domestic violence sufferers delay leaving an abusive relationship when there are pets in the home, simply because they fear for their pet’s safety, and that concerns me greatly,” Ms Bradshaw added.
“Our Pets in Crisis program can assist victims of family and domestic violence by providing practical support, in the way of safe temporary accommodation for their pets, while they focus on their own safety and wellbeing, and escape that situation.
“RSPCA WA’s main aim is to keep animals safe from harm, and that’s exactly what the Pets in Crisis program allows us to do, making a real difference for animals at risk,” Ms Bradshaw finished.
Those interested in becoming a foster carer for the Pets in Crisis program can apply via the RSPCA WA website: www.rspcawa.asn.au/pets-in-crisis
*the dog’s name has been changed to protect the identity of him and his family.