RSPCA South Australia is committed to working with the community and all organisations responding to domestic and family violence to help families and their pets find safety.
Substantial evidence exists worldwide documenting the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence. This includes recognition of the fact that:
- Pet abuse often occurs before and during human abuse in domestic violence situations,
- A major reason for the abuse of pets by perpetrators is to control women and children,
- Many women will delay leaving domestic violence situations because they cannot make arrangements for the safety of their pets,
- Significant trauma is experienced by women and children witnessing the threat or actual abuse of pets,
- Pets are often injured and sometimes killed when living in human domestic violence situations,
- Family pets provide positive relationships for women and children helping to improve their physical and emotional well being.
In response to this evidence, the RSPCA have established the Safe Kennels DV Project.
The key objectives of the Safe Kennels DV Project are as follows:
- Develop effective collaborative working relationships with key organisations responding to domestic and family violence in South Australia
- Develop improved information resources for women escaping Domestic Violence and training resources for Domestic Violence workers on matters to do with ensuring the safety of pets
- Ensure all RSPCA internal policies and procedures allow for effective referral to Safe Kennel emergency accommodation and related programs
- Establish a Foster Care network outside of our shelter environment for pets impacted by domestic and family violence
- Explore the potential and where possible support initiatives for pets to remain with women and children escaping domestic violence from the outset
- Advocate for an increase in pet friendly rental accommodation
Practical things to consider
If you need someone else to care for your pet while you escape a domestic violence situation, it is recommended that you keep the following information with you:
- A photo of your pet, their name, age and feeding schedule, what they normally eat, details of any medical conditions, their temperament, likes and dislikes (including whether they can be boarded with children / other animals), whether they live indoors / outdoors.
- Something to prove you own the pet (e.g. registration or vet bills in your name)
- Details of your pet’s current veterinary practice alongside any copies of medical records / proof of vaccination / microchip details
Have a plan for how to keep your pet safe and where it might go if temporary care is required:
- Keep your pet’s leash / carrier, collar, and ID tags at hand
- Make sure your pets vaccinations are up to date and that you have proof of vaccination
- Make sure your pet is micro-chipped and your micro-chip contact details are up to date
- Speak with family and friends to see if they would be willing to provide temporary boarding. In some cases local councils, community groups or social workers may be able to help you. Alternatively temporary pet sitters often advertise online on websites such as www.petcloud.com.au
If you are in a domestic violence situation and are seeking assistance, call domestic violence help lines on 1800 737 732 or 1800 800 098. In an emergency ring 000.
If you wish to discuss emergency accommodation for your pet, call RSPCA South Australia on 1300 4777 222.
Any other enquiries regarding the Safe Kennels DV project can be directed to Ralph Olivieri, Safe Kennels Project Officer. Click here to send Ralph an email.