For many of us, pets are part of the family. Sadly, in domestic abuse situations they can also become victims. Animals are sometimes used to coerce people into staying in abusive relationships and some feel unable to leave an abuser in fear of what will happen to their beloved pet.
Thankfully, a local charity, Refuge4Pets, is addressing this issue and helping people and their pets escape domestic abuse.
Refuge4Pets say that animals are often the “silent victims of domestic violence and abuse”. The charity explains that they can suffer being shouted at, beaten, kicked and even killed in a domestic abuse situation.
Anyone fleeing domestic abuse is not only faced with emotional trauma. They may also need to deal with finding somewhere to live, making arrangements for their children and working out their finances. Many people also have to work out what to do about their pet.
Refuge4Pets is helping address this issue in Devon and Cornwall by giving temporary help for pets until they can safely be reunited with their owners. The charity provides foster care for pets when their owners are escaping domestic abuse. As well as providing a safe place to live, thanks to a network of volunteer foster carers, Refuge4Pets also gives animals everything they need, including food and bedding.
One of our charities of the year, Gables Dogs and Cats Home also support Dogs and Cats of victims of domestic abuse through other agencies. All the dogs and cats have access to vet care while they are with them and when they go back to their owners, they often send them with a plentiful supply of food.