RSPCA seeking foster homes for pets of victims of domestic violence

// 29 March 2008

When people are forced to flee their homes because of domestic violence, what happens to their pets?

Well, the RSPCA in Wales is recruiting foster ‘parents’ for pets so that women (yes, it is mostly women) are not forced to leave them in the hands of an abusive partner, reports womensphere. The scheme is already up and running in England:

Bernice Dawes, from Bristol, urged Welsh families to look after pets; she has taken in 10 cats since 2004.

She said, “When the animals first come to you they are very traumatised. They will have seen a lot of violence or had very violent things done to them.”

But she added, “It’s very rewarding. You see them visibly relaxing.

“Just be patient and take your time and wait for the animal to come to you. Eventually the cat will come out and want to know you and be nuzzled and so on.”

Ms Dawes said she was sad to see the pets go, but delighted she could help people escape domestic abuse.

“I think a lot of women hold on for longer because they don’t want their pets to be harmed,” she said.

“Seeing an animal and owner happy when they are reunited makes it easier to part with the animal when it is time for them to go home.”

And just to underline the importance of the service being provided:

“A human victim of domestic abuse once said to us, ‘If I did not own pets then I would have left years ago.’ Our scheme offers such victims a safe home for their animals for as long as they need it. “If we can step in and break that cycle, we will be doing a tremendous amount to help both people and animals.”

Photo by Malingering, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

pam // Posted 24 June 2008 at 8:33 pm

i left an abusive relationship two and a half years ago, and had to leave the pets, i still am unable to house them and am now facing threats from the ex to throw them into the street forthwith if i do not sign everything over to him in the financial proceedings. I need foster homes asap, can anyone help please!!!!

Jess // Posted 20 October 2008 at 12:37 pm

I am going to rehome a animal i feel it is not right to see animals on the streets, or being abused, i want to help animals, i am a big animal lover, if anyone needs help rehoming a dog or a puppy please contact me asap. Thank you

Cara // Posted 20 October 2008 at 3:30 pm

Aw, just thought of my parents’ cats and a tear came to my eye.

I would so do this, if I didn’t live in a tiny flat with no garden :-(

That said, is it not a bit dysfunctional that we British care more about animals than people?

I mean, I’m not having a go at anyone, or knocking the scheme which is a great idea, as I said, if I had space I’d do it – as you may have guessed I am an animal lover and am as guilty of this myself as anyone…but…

anyone remember the donkeys getting more money than abused women story?

What I mean is I think that people will prob volunteer to take these animals, or donate money to the scheme, no problem, who wouldn’t dream of donating to women’s shelters etc. and think it’s just an isolated problem of a few evil monsters who abuse their partners, not a you know, misogynist society thing.

I once collected for a people charity and SO many people said No, I don’t give to people charities, only animals.

Why not give to both?!

I am all for this scheme but let’s see people give more to charities that help abused women and kids too.

I mean people who are violent to other humans are likely to abuse animals – no-one has made that point explicitly although it is implicit in the article that many of these animals will also have been abused.

And also as pointed out in the article, women may be more reluctant to leave if there are pets – I know there is no way I would leave pets in the company of an abuser if *touches wood* I was in that situation. I mean I know women are socialised to be self sacrificing in that way, but people do love their pets and have a duty of care to them. NO animal deserves to be abused – and witnessing domestic violence, even if abusive bastard didn’t touch the animals, is psychological abuse.

jo // Posted 27 November 2008 at 1:03 pm

i foster a lot of animal, and have an 11yr old lad at the mo, but will never turn away an animal, so if anyone needs help and i can, drop me an email and ill see what i can do

Mrs Lowndes // Posted 1 January 2009 at 1:04 pm

I currently run a foster and re-homing organisation for all small, tropcical, aquarius etc species, which can at a push run to cats and dogs.

If anyone requires a pet for adoption please contact me.

Similarly if anyone requires an animal fostering, no questions asked, contact me also. I am willing to travel.Thanks

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