Blog Article | 9 December 2019

Helping Pet Owners Flee Domestic Abuse

Cats Protection and Dogs Trust are both running free, confidential, temporary cat and dog fostering services for people fleeing domestic abuse.

With one in four adult women estimated to experience some form of domestic violence, Paws Protect and Freedom Project recognise the importance of removing barriers to people leaving abusive environments. Pets can be a huge barrier when leaving, as they are often used as part of coercive control.

Paws Protect (for cats) and Dogs Trust (for dogs) both have small, female-only teams, and both services run in London, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Freedom Project also operates in the North West, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.

We speak to pet owners when they are at their most vulnerable, and we work to reassure them that we can help keep their pet safe so they can get themselves and their families to safety.

After receiving a referral, we arrange to collect the pet in a safe location and then bring them into foster care, where they are loved and cared for until the owner is back on their feet, which can take approximately six to nine months. However, we understand that recovery is not linear and depends on the individual.


Cat looking towards a dog


As you can imagine, this can be a very emotional time for the owner, who is devastated to be parted from their pet and has such a lot of other challenges to deal with too. We offer emotional support and reassurance and do our best to help in any way we can.

We keep in touch with both the owner and fosterer throughout the foster placement. Photographs and little stories of what the pets are getting up to are sent to the owner so they can see how well their beloved pets are being looked after. The whole service is totally confidential, so the fosterer knows nothing about the owner and vice versa, in order to keep everyone safe and not compromise the owner’s identity.

All of the pets we take in are also neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and de-wormed and de-fleaed if they are not already, so the owners know they are happy and healthy.

The best part is when an owner gets in touch to let us know they have secured a safe new home and are ready to be reunited with their pet. It is a real pleasure to see how the new house becomes a home when the pets arrive back.


If you need to access the service or are interested in becoming a fosterer, please do get in touch with either service on the details below:



Paws Protect (cats)

T: 0345 260 1280





Freedom Project (dogs)

T: 0800 298 9199





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