Council motion to support pet owners fleeing domestic violence situations

Concerns of pet’s welfare delays many leaving violent situations. Photo: RSPCA.


FOR people fleeing domestic violence and family violence the choice to leave pets is not always viable.

Three in five Australian households have a pet, placing Australia’s pet ownerships as some of the highest in the world, however, due to the lack of support for those fleeing domestic and family violence, there is not always the option to keep their beloved animals.

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In a motion raised by Councillor Giacomo Arnott to the Port Stephens Council, this issue was addressed in regards to the local community.

“When local people in our community are suffering at the hands of domestic violence, a factor in whether they are able to safely leave their situation is often the safety of their companion animals.

“I think Council can and should be taking action to ensure that we do what we can to help fleeing domestic violence,” Cr Arnott said.

The motion was carried and resolved that Port Stephens Council will prepare a report to investigate options for Port Stephens Animal Shelter to temporarily hold onto family pets for up to one week where the pet’s owner is fleeing a domestic violence situation.

It also brought forth the option of partnering with a new service provider at Fullerton Cove.

“Being able to temporarily accommodate family animals for up to a week can make a big difference in whether someone chooses to leave a dangerous, potentially violent situation or not.

“It’s the first step in doing our part to help protect local people and assist them in escaping difficult situations,” Cr Arnott said.

Pet ownership has been proven to improve mental health and wellbeing whilst providing companionship to a number of Australians.

Domestic Violence Animal Shelter Programs have become more prominent as studies into domestic and family violence prove that owners take their pet’s lives into consideration when fleeing a difficult situation.

Providers of these programs across Australia include the RSPCA’s Community Domestic Violence Program, DV Connect’s Pets in Crisis Program and the Australian Pet Welfare Foundations’ Pets in Crisis Program.



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