FAQs

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 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 a domestic abuse service, the police, social care, housing 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 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: Animal foster carers are volunteers who work for Refuge4Pets and they are committed to caring for animals. All of our animal 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 animals 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 animal 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?

A: It is our policy to neuter animals when they come into foster care unless a vet advises against this.

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 vet bills will be paid for by Refuge4Pets while your animals are 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.

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 animals. 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, experienced and loving home to an animal on a temporary basis.

Q: Why do we need animal foster carers?

A: Families and individuals escaping domestic abuse are unable to access refuge or emergency accommodation with their animals. In many cases this will stop people from leaving violent and abusive relationships. At Refuge4Pets we are passionate about people and animals and we are working to remove barriers so that victims-survivors of domestic abuse can get the support they need before being reunited with their pets. Our animal 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 animals.

Q: What if my foster animal 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.

Professionals FAQs

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 9am – 5pm and our contact details are:

Tel 0300 4000 121
Email info@refuge4pets.org.uk

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 animals that need fostering and we will do our best to help.

Q: Who will foster pets?

A: Animal 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 animal 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 animals 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 abuse go to to continue the abuse. Our priority is the safety of animals, volunteers and service users. We will be guided by the owner and you about which geographical areas animals will be safest and what type of environment they will be happiest in. We will not share any information with our foster carers about the owner. Our animal 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 an animal 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 animals 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 animals 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 animals are with us.

Q: What if an animal becomes unwell while in foster care?

A: We will make sure animals receive the veterinary care that they need and keep you updated. If an animal 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 animals?

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.