The Shelter

New Zealand's first shelter dedicated to temporarily housing pets affected by domestic violence

The Pet Refuge shelter is a purpose-designed building to provide temporary shelter and security for pets in family violence situations, with the end goal of reuniting each of them with their owners so they can start new lives together in violence-free homes.

The shelter will house up to 75 animals - dogs, cats, birds, and other small pets and has been designed to give animals comfort and security. There are no wire cages, the enclosures have underfloor heating, and are specially designed to give a space to sleep, play and feel secure. There are play areas with climbing structures, an obstacle course and beds for lounging in the sun.

We are proud to have the experienced team from RSPCA New South Wales helping with the development of our Safe Beds for PetsTM programme. RSPCA NSW has been running their own Domestic Violence programme for over 15 years, offering practical solutions for pet owners seeking refuge from abuse.

Pet Refuge will work with NZ Police, Women’s Refuge, Shine, Family Action and other domestic violence agencies to assist pets via referrals and will also take self-referrals. We will transport pets from around New Zealand to provide a national service for families affected by domestic violence. The location of the shelter will be kept confidential to protect the safety of the pets, women and children assisted by Pet Refuge.

Each year, the shelter will house up to 300 pets including cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. Larger animals including horses, cows, sheep, goats will be cared for via a network of regional safe farms.

The Pet Refuge shelter will be a safe place for families to send their much-loved pets, enabling them to leave family violence behind. We believe it will change the lives of many people and animals in need.

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