Support needed for pets in domestic violence situations

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month unfolds, the Petbarn Foundation is highlighting the critical support pets need when their owners face domestic or family violence.

The foundation has made significant strides, donating over $800,000 to charities like Pet Medical Crisis and the RSPCA. These funds are crucial in delivering programs that offer free or subsidised vet care and emergency accommodation for pets, ensuring survivors can escape abusive situations without leaving their beloved animals behind.

Janelle Bloxsom, National Manager of the Petbarn Foundation, says pets can also become victims of family violence situations.

“No one should have to choose between safety and leaving a pet behind. Sadly, individuals who commit acts of violence often exploit this close bond, causing harm to pets as a means of targeting their victims.

“If owners know there are options to keep pets safe and protected, they can take an opportunity to leave without fear for what may happen to their pets.

“The Petbarn Foundation recognises the importance of these programs and know the donations will help provide veterinary care and refuge for pets until they can be reunited with their owners in a safe environment.”

From January to March this year, Pet Medical Crisis responded to 102 requests for help, with 41 percent of applicants reporting current or past domestic violence, and 95 per cent of these requests were from female clients.

Based in Melbourne, Pet Medical Crisis helps vulnerable Victorians fund lifesaving veterinary care for their pets. Pet Medical Crisis has distributed over $1.3m to help vulnerable owners pay for urgent vet care.  

Jennifer Hunt, Founder of Pet Medical Crisis, said the rising cost of living is really being felt hard by their clients, and the demand for the services is growing year on year.

“The case numbers are rising significantly, 64 per cent of our cases require emergency treatment within 12 hours and we are triaging seven days a week. For many of the pets that require our help, access to crisis support and veterinary funding in real-time means we can provide the urgent care needed and prevent any unnecessary suffering, surrender or euthanasia.”

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