We have answered many of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below and to help you search for your questions, we have split them into three categories.
Pet Owners FAQs
Q: Can I use your service?
A: If you are a victim/survivor of domestic violence and abuse and you live in Devon or Cornwall (or if you are fleeing to Devon and Cornwall) we may be able to foster your animals. You can call us directly, or, if you are in touch with any support services such as Domestic Violence and Abuse Services, the Police, Social Care and so on they can make a referral to our service on your behalf.
Q: Do I have to go into a refuge to be able to use your service?
A: Whether you go into refuge, emergency accommodation or stay with a friend or family member we will be able to foster your pet(s) if we have a suitable foster home available.
Q: What type of animals can we foster?
A: Dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles and small animals such as hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs and so on. Whatever pets/animals you have, we will do our best to find foster homes for them so please do get in touch.
Q: Who would foster my pet?
A: Pet foster carers are volunteers who work for Refuge4Pets and they are committed to caring for animals. All of our pet foster carers are carefully recruited to make sure they can offer the best possible temporary foster home for your pet while you start to rebuild your life. We have pet foster carers across the South West which means we can place your animals in an area where they will be safe.
Q: Will I know where my pet is?
A: To ensure the safety of your animals and their foster carer we will not share with you where your pet is placed as we understand the lengths that perpetrators can go to, to continue the abuse. We will be guided by you about which geographical areas you feel your pet will be safest and what type of environment your pet will be happiest in. Your safety is also very important to us and we will agree with you a safe way to collect your pet and keep in contact. We will not share any information with our foster carers about you. Our pet foster carers agree and adhere to a strict confidentiality policy and will not share any pictures or information about your pet with anyone outside of the Refuge4Pets team.
Q: How will I know how my pet is doing?
A: We will contact you monthly to send you pictures and to give you an update on how your pets are getting on. You can also call or email us.
Q: Will my pet have to be neutered or castrated?
A: We act on the advice of vets and animal behaviourists. We may need to neuter a dog to be able to foster them, but would always discuss this with you first. It is our policy to neuter all cats that come into foster care.
Q: What about my pet’s microchip?
A: We will arrange for the details to be updated and if your pet does not have a microchip, we will arrange this as it is a legal requirement for some animals.
Q: How long can my pet stay in a foster placement?
A: This can be anything from one night of emergency care to six months or longer in exceptional cases if we can accommodate animals for longer than 6 months.
Q: Will I need to pay anything?
A: All food, accessories, bedding and routine vet bills will be paid for by Refuge4Pets while your pet is with us. If your pet develops a health condition while in our care, we will discuss this with you and agree an appropriate care plan. We ask that you contribute towards the cost of caring for your pet after 3 months of pets being in foster care as we are such a small charity with very limited resources.
Q: What do I do when I am ready to be reunited with my pet?
A: Just get in touch and we will make the arrangements to reunite you with your pet. Please do give us as much notice as possible though as we are taking care of lots of animals.
Pet Foster Carers FAQs
Q: Who can foster?
A: You can foster an animal if you are over the age of 18, committed to caring for animals and if you can offer a safe, suitable and loving home to a pet for a short period of time.
Q: Why do we need pet foster carers?
A: Families and individuals escaping domestic violence and abuse are unable to access refuge or emergency accommodation with their pets. In many cases this will stop people from leaving violent and abusive relationships as much loved pets are often the silent victims, abused themselves and used as part of the abuse. At Refuge4Pets we are passionate about people and animals and we are working to remove barriers so that victims/survivors of domestic violence and abuse can get the support they need before being reunited with their pets. Our pet foster carers are at the heart of Refuge4Pets and for some individuals and families their support could save lives.
Q: What type of animals will need a foster home?
A: Dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles and small animals such as hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs and so on. It is mostly dogs and cats that come into foster care and at the moment we particularly need foster homes for large breed dogs, multiple dogs, cats and pet-free homes. We are always looking for experienced homes for horses and ponies too.
Q: How long is a foster placement?
A: It is difficult to give a definite time scale as a foster placement could be anything from one night of emergency care to six months and longer in some cases. The average foster placement is 6 months. We will always keep pet foster carers up to date with the latest information about pets and plans to reunite pets with their owners. Whatever length of foster placement you could offer we would like to hear from you.
Q: Who will support me?
A: We will be with you every step of the way and on hand for advice and support. We will visit you at least once a month and make sure that you have everything you need to care for foster pets.
Q: What if my foster pet is unwell?
A: If animals are unwell, or if we have concerns about their health/condition we will make sure that they get to one of the wonderful vet practices that we work with. We cover the cost of all veterinary treatment for animals in foster care.
Q: Will I incur any expenses when fostering an animal?
A: All food, accessories, bedding and vet bills will be paid for by Refuge4Pets. If you would like to contribute you can, although there is no expectation for you to do this.
Q: How can I refer an individual I am working with to your service?
A: To make a referral please complete our secure, online referral form. Or, if it is safe to do so, please pass our contact details to victim/survivors so they can contact us directly. We are open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm and our contact details are:
Tel 0300 4000 121
Q: What type of animals can we foster?
A: Dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles and small animals such as hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs and so on. Please do contact us if there are other pets/animals that need fostering and we will do our best to help.
Q: Who will foster pets?
A: Pet foster carers are volunteers who work for Refuge4Pets and they are committed to caring for animals. All of our foster carers are carefully recruited to make sure they can offer the best possible foster homes. We have pet foster carers across the South West, which means we can place pets in an area where they will be safe.
Q: Will the owner know where their pet is?
A: To ensure the safety of pets and their foster carers, we will not share the details about where animals have been placed with owners as we understand the lengths that perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse may go to. Our priority is the safety of animals, volunteers and service users. We will be guided by the owner and you about which geographical areas pets will be safest and what type of environment pets will be happiest in. We will not share any information with our foster carers about the owner. Our pet foster carers agree and adhere to a strict confidentiality policy and will not share any pictures of pets with anyone, or on any social media.
Q: How long can a pet stay in a foster placement?
A: It is difficult to give a definite time scale as a placement could be anything from one night of emergency care to six months, or longer for some pets while owners find suitable, safe accommodation and are in a position to be reunited with their pets.
Q: How will owners know how their pets are doing?
A: We will update owners and send pictures of pets monthly using a safe email address.
Q: Will owners need to pay anything?
A: All food, accessories, bedding and vet bills will be paid for by Refuge4Pets while pets are with us. We ask owners if they can make contributions towards the care of their animals, but only if/when they are able to.
Q: What if a pet becomes unwell while in foster care?
A: We will make sure they receive the veterinary care that they need and keep you updated. If a pet develops a serious health condition while in foster care, we will work with their owner and veterinarians to decide the best course of action.
Q: What do owners do when they are ready to be reunited with their pets?
A: Just get in touch and we will make the arrangements to reunite animals with their families. We would like as much notice as possible though as we are taking care of lots of pets.