How can I get help from Pet Refuge?

If you are needing help with your pet while you escape domestic violence, please call us on 0800 PET REFUGE or email [email protected].

If you are in immediate danger please call the Police on 111 or the Women’s Refuge Crisis line on 0800 REFUGE.

What kind of pets will Pet Refuge help?

Pet Refuge will provide temporary accommodation for dogs, cats, birds and smaller animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. We will also assist people who have larger pets such as horses or other farm animals through our network of safe farms across New Zealand.

What care will be provided for my pet?

Our team will provide gold standard care for your pet, looking after their physical and mental wellbeing. In our shelter your pet will have a warm bed, food, medical treatment (if needed), toys to play with, worm and flea treatments and a full health check on arrival. We will provide enrichment for each pet, and therapy for pets displaying anxiety and fear issues, as we know the mental health of pets who have been abused as part of family violence can suffer greatly. 

What regions will Pet Refuge cover?

Pet Refuge will provide a national service, transporting pets from around New Zealand to the shelter. We will also develop a network of farms around the country to care for larger farm animals.

How much will it cost?

The Pet Refuge service is free thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and individual donors. However, we would welcome any contribution you may wish to make towards the care of your pet.

Is Pet Refuge a charity?

Yes, we are registered with the NZ Charities Service. Our registration number is CC53408.

Does Pet Refuge only help the pets of women?

Pet Refuge will assist any pet affected by family violence to help their owner escape violence sooner regardless of their gender.

How long can my pet stay at Pet Refuge?

We understand it takes time for people who have left family violence to rebuild their lives and find a safe place for themselves and their pets to live.  Therefore, there is no allocated timeframe for an animal staying in our care. However, length of stay in the shelter is dependent on kennel space, behavioural and medical needs of the pet, and the client’s individual circumstances. Our case workers will work closely with clients on a regular basis and continue to assess the needs of the animals whilst they are in our care.

Can I visit my pet?

The location of the Pet Refuge shelter is kept confidential protect their safety, yours and that of our shelter workers.   Therefore, we do not allow owners to visit their pets at our shelter or at our network of safe farms. Your Pet Refuge case worker will make regular phone calls and can send photographs and videos of your pet so you can see how they are doing.

What happens if I need to rehome my pet?

We will work closely with clients to ensure we explore every means possible of reuniting pets with their families. If you make the decision to rehome your pet, we will work with other animal rescue and rehoming organisation to find the best home possible for them. We are partnered with rehoming groups that follow an adoption guarantee policy, ensuring your pet will find a loving new home once transferred to this organisation.

What is the capacity of the Pet Refuge shelter?

The shelter can house up to 16 dogs, 31 cats and 30 smaller animals. Every pet has their own warm, clean bed, toys and blankets to ensure they are comfortable during their stay.

Why are pets important in relation to domestic violence in New Zealand?

A study in 2016 found that New Zealand had the second highest rate of pet ownership in the world, and in the following year it was found that New Zealand had the highest reporting rate of domestic violence worldwide. These statistics mean that violence involving pets is intrinsically linked to family domestic violence, and this relationship is one that cannot be ignored.

A study by Women’s Refuge found that 53% of surveyed respondents did not leave the abuser when they wanted to out of fear for a pet’s safety. Pet Refuge aims to address some of these issues by being New Zealand’s first shelter dedicated to housing the pets of domestic violence victims.

How will pets be kept safe from partners of victims who have threatened abuse?

Pet Refuge recognises that safety is paramount in situations of domestic violence. Therefore, many precautions are taken to try to ensure the safety of not only the pets, but the clients themselves. Animals in our care are de-identified on all records and kept away from any general public. Case workers work closely with clients to learn of, and mitigate, any risks in relation to the pets in our care. 

How do you manage the care of animals that have been victims of abuse?

Pet Refuge have engaged the expertise of the staff at RSPCA NSW Community Domestic Violence in Australia, drawing on their experience to create protocols that will best manage the care of these pets. We have a team of specialist animal care workers who will cater to the individual needs of pets. The recognition of the importance of animal mental health is increasing, and Pet Refuge will use many enrichment tools and techniques to ensure that the negative experiences these pets have faced can be worked through as safely as possible.

Was that really Pet Refuge that just called me?

Yes, we are currently calling our supporters to see if they would be interested in joining our 'Safe Beds for Pets' monthly giving programme or donating again.