$100,000 to RSPCA to protect pets in crisis

The Queensland Government will contribute $100,000 to the RSPCA Queensland to continue a much-needed service providing safe accommodation for pets of domestic and family violence victims.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman joined with Mark Townend, Chief Executive Officer, RSPCA Queensland and some of his furry friends at the Ekka to announce the new funding.

“This funding will help keep the Pets in Crisis service operating to protect animals at risk from domestic and family violence in their homes,” she said.

“We know that pets can be harmed or threatened with harm when perpetrators of domestic violence use them as another way to control or intimidate victims.

“The Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland identified that victims may delay leaving abusive and violent situations due to animal welfare concerns, and if they can’t take their pets with them. 

“The Pets in Crisis program, delivered by RSPCA Qld in partnership with DVConnect for more than 10 years, provides a place of safety for pets when a victim of violence needs to leave their home.

“Knowing that their pets also have a safe place to go removes a barrier to them leaving their homes and breaking the cycle of violence.”

Mr Townend said the Pets in Crisis program cared for 236 animals for an average of 33 days each last financial year.

“Sadly the need for the Pets in Crisis program keeps growing,” Mr Townend said.

“The program now helps out by housing hundreds of animals each year.

“To be honest without this funding it’s doubtful we could have kept the program going, so we’re thankful the Government has recognised its importance.

“We look forward to continuing to work with DV Connect, the Queensland Government and philanthropic partners and sponsors to ensure the ongoing viability for the service.”

DVConnect Chief Executive Officer Diane Mangan said for hundreds of pet lovers the decision to leave a violent home was made all the more difficult.

“For any pet lover whose animal is part of the family, the thought of leaving them behind in an emergency is unthinkable,” Ms Mangan said. 

“Knowing that their pets will be cared for and that they can be reunited as soon as they can get back on their feet is sometimes the catalyst for many women having the courage to take that vital step towards leaving a violent domestic situation and protecting themselves, their children and just as importantly their pets.”

In response to a recommendation in the Not Now, Not Ever report, the shelters established by the Queensland Government in Townsville and Brisbane already accommodate pets.

Ms Fentiman said the shelters due to open in Charters Towers and Roma would also allow victims to bring pets, as will the two new shelters for South East Queensland announced in the 2017-18 State Budget.

“In addition, the Queensland Government is working hard to make existing shelters pet-friendly over time as opportunities arise.

“I’m so pleased we’ve been able to continue this vital partnership, to provide a safe haven for pets as well as giving women and children escaping violence peace of mind that their pets are also protected,” Ms Fentiman said.

For more information on the Queensland Government’s actions to tackle domestic and family violence go to www.communities.qld.gov.au/gateway/end-domestic-and-family-violence

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