Appeal for ‘dog foster carers’ to help owners fleeing domestic abuse
PUBLISHED: 00:01 15 October 2020
Richard Murgatroyd Photography
Could you foster a much-loved pet to help a domestic abuse survivor? The Dogs Trust is launching an urgent appeal for animal lovers to step in and help.
The dog welfare charity is bringing its Freedom Project to Suffolk, to offer a lifeline for dog owners who can’t take their pets with them while they flee to safety.
The service, launched in 2004, already operates in Essex, and is also expanding into Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
Sarah Rowe, Freedom Project co-ordinator for East Anglia at Dogs Trust, said: “It has become clear that a dedicated pet fostering service is needed in East Anglia to support people and their pets fleeing domestic abuse.
“By establishing a specialist pet fostering service in this area, we can help dog owners find refuge away from their abusive perpetrator, without worrying what will happen to their beloved pet.”
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“To do this, we urgently need the animal loving public of East Anglia to come forward to volunteer as foster carers.”
As lockdown restrictions began to lift, the charity has seen demand for its services increase and a record number of dogs were fostered during August.
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According to the trust, there is a strong link between domestic abuse and ill-treatment of pets.
Sadly, research shows that pets will often be used by a perpetrator as a tool to threaten or coerce.
Dogs Trust research found that nearly half (49%) of professionals working in the sector were aware of domestic abuse cases where a pet had been killed.
If you would like to volunteer, you need to be at home during the day. Some volunteers are working from home while others are retired.
You also need to have your own garden or access to a communal garden.
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Volunteers will need some experience of caring for dogs, and to be able to commit to fostering a dog for at least six months.
Fostering is always kept completely confidential to protect both carers and dogs. Pets are not fostered within the area that the owner is from and the foster carer will not know who the owner is or where they live. Additional measures have also been put in place during the current pandemic to ensure the safety of volunteers, staff, and dogs.
For details or to volunteer, visit the Dogs Trust website or call 0808 1966240.
For advice and support on domestic abuse, contact Refuge’s free, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000247.
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