What happens to my pet if I flee an abusive relationship?

For some people that are in abusive relationships, the thought of leaving behind a loved family pet is enough to make them stay. However, this doesn't need to be the case. There is help available to your pet whilst you flee and escape your abusive relationship.

Dogs Trust Freedom Project

The Freedom Project is a voluntary dog fostering service run by Dogs Trust. When referring your dog to the Freedom Project, they will be fostered for up to six months in a home with a volunteer foster carer. Whilst your dog is in foster care all expenses such as dog food, veterinary bills and toys will be covered by Dogs Trust. Then once you are safe and ready, you are reunited with your dog! 

For more information and to refer your dog to the Freedom Project, please call:

Greater London & Home Counties - 0800 298 9199

Yorkshire - 0800 083 4322 

North West - 0300 303 4139

Scotland - 0808 169 4315

North East - 0300 303 3497 

Or email [email protected] 

www.dogstrustfreedomproject.org.uk 

Endeavour Project

The Endeavour Project runs in a similar way to the Freedom Project, however Endeavour accept other animals such as cats. 

For more information and to refer your animal to Endeavour Project, please call: 01204 394842

Or email [email protected] 

www.endeavourproject.org.uk 

Frequently Asked Questions

What pet items should I take when moving my pet to safety?

If you are able to plan for your pets departure, try to have the following items in a safe place and out of your abusive partner's reach:

  • Dog Collar / Lead
  • Cat Carrier 
  • Medication (if any)
  • Vaccination Certificates 
  • Information Sheet (containing about how you feed your pet, medical conditions, likes / dislikes and any possible behaviour problems) 

How do I get my pet to the foster home?

Your pet will be collected from a safe location in an unmarked vehicle or collected from the home in conjunction with the police. This is aimed to be done as quickly as possible. 

Does my pet need to be vaccinated to be accepted onto the projects? 

It is better for your pet to be regularly vaccinated. However, we know that it is not always possible. The assumption will be made that if your pet does not come with vaccination records, they have not been vaccinated. If they have been vaccinated it will be easier to find them a foster placement. 

Could my abusive partner trace me through my pet?

The answer to this is NO. Both Freedom Project and Endeavour Project operate under the strictest confidentiality. Highly trained volunteers / workers understand the vital importance of your situation and only workers will know where you and your pet is. It is advised to not tell friends / family members about your pets re-location in case this gets back to the person you have fled from. 

Am I able to see my pet whilst they are in a foster placement?

No, whilst your pet is in a foster placement you will not be able to visit them. This is to keep both you and your pet safe. You will receive regular updates about your pet and the Freedom Project will send you regular updates and photographs. 

Will I know the area where my dog is fostered?

The volunteer who fosters your pet will not be given any of your details, and you will not be given any of the volunteers details. Therefore, you will not know where your pet is fostered but you will receive regular updates and photographs. 

Would my pet be better off if I put them up for adoption?

Only you can make that decision - some people decide that it will be better all round to find their pet a new home. Giving up a loved family pet is sad, but realising that a pet is safe and happy in a new home can make the decision to leave a violent situation easier. Your local animal rescue centre might be able to find a permanent home for your pet. Try to give them as much information about its background and likes / dislikes. If you decide this is the best step, you may want to take photos of your pet for you and your children to keep.