Pets in Crisis Program

By  DVconnect     |    Updated: 17th January, 2022    |    4 min read

Check your local state RSPCA to find out if the service runs in our area.

The Pets In Crisis program provides safe accommodation, food and vet care to pets whose families have escaped domestic and family violence, but who cannot take them to a shelter/refuge and have no family/friends who can care for their pet while they find safe, alternative accommodation.

The Facts

  • The Pets In Crisis program exists to care for pets whose families are escaping domestic and family violence.
  • The majority of refuges/shelters in Queensland do not allow pets. This results in many people staying in abusive relationships for the sake of their pets as they are scared what will happen to them if they left them with their abuser.
  • Established in 2005, the program is a collaboration between DVConnect and the RSPCA Queensland.
  • Once in the Pets In Crisis program, the RSPCA Queensland provides each pet with safe accommodation, healthy food daily, required vaccinations, microchipping and they are desexed. Also, in a lot of cases, the pet is given additional veterinary care to help pre-existing conditions that may be a result of the abuser hurting the family pet, or not allowing finances to be spent on the pet for vital yearly vaccinations or help when it is sick or injured.
  • The Program cares for almost 300 pets each year.
  • Pets can stay in the program for up to 28 days but the average day the pets stayed in the program in 2018-19 was 34 days.
  • Any type of pet is accepted, provided there is a suitable place for them to be cared for. This could mean a cat, dog, horse, goat, guinea pig etc.
  • On average, it costs the RSPCA Queensland a minimum of $150,000 to operate the Pets In Crisis Program, this increases when the number of animals needing help increases.  If you can help by donating please do so here.

How can I get my pet in the Pets In Crisis Program?

To access this program, you must speak with the DVConnect team. Please call anytime on 1800 811 811, they are available to chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The link between domestic violence and pets

Sadly pets are often abused as part of the spectrum of domestic violence. Domestic violence counsellors regularly speak with people whose pets are beaten or tortured by abusive partners. The abuser do this to frighten and control the victim into staying in the violent relationship. RSPCA Queensland’s Inspectorate frequently investigates animal cruelty cases of this nature.

For any pet lover whose animal is part of the family – the thought of leaving them behind in an emergency is unthinkable! For hundreds of pet lovers, the decision is made all the more difficult when the need to leave is due to escalating or persistent domestic or family violence. Sadly – hundreds of women, children and their beloved pets across Queensland are constrained in violent and fearful relationships because the fear and practical challenges of leaving are just too overwhelming. These already emotionally drained and mostly financially strapped women are torn between protecting themselves and their children and the increased risk that their dear pets will (if they are not already affected) become the victims of the violence if they leave them behind

No pets should be at risk of being abused and no one should feel that they can’t leave a violent home!

How can this happen?

Places available in refuges for the victims of domestic and family violence are scarce, and in Queensland none are able to accommodate pets. DVConnect counsellors regularly speak to women whose intimate partners use violence or threats of it towards their pets – in order to frighten and control them into staying. And for the children – moving without their special companions at this time compounds the loss and makes the trauma they are facing in their family life that much more intense. 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.


Also check the related topics:  

Domestic violence Abusive relationships

Factsheet provided by DVconnect


Have we missed something?