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Source: Pet Refuge

Pet Refuge is seeing firsthand the effects of the ongoing rise of family violence with the number of pets coming into the shelter increasing sharply over summer.  Pet Refuge was full during some periods of summer and recently reached the milestone of helping more than 100 pets and their families escape abuse since opening in July last year.

Unfortunately, because of changes in the economy, the number of generous donors is under threat, at the very time when the need is greater than ever.

The need for help will continue to grow with New Zealand Police predicting a 35% rise in family harm by 2025, which would mean a call for help every 2.5 minutes.

On average pets stay at the shelter for 3 to 4 months and staff say a highlight of the job is reuniting the beloved animals with their owners once they have secured a safe place to live.

Each is special and loved, says Pet Refuge founder Julie Chapman. “We treat each pet as though they’re our own so that they have the best care and experience, giving owners the confidence to leave them with us while they get back on their feet.”

That can include pool parties, cat Olympics, Valentine’s Day celebrations and long bush walks for dogs among many other things. Programme Manager Nikki Marchant-Ludlow’s focus is to give the pets the very best experience during a hard time in their lives. “The best part is then seeing the animals reunited with their owners,” Nikki says. “Words can’t describe the special moment when an owner sees their pet, and the pet realises they’re going home. It’s sheer joy.”

Like many charities, Pet Refuge has been hit hard by changes in the economy. Things like the new lending laws, rising interest rates, and spiralling fuel and food prices and have seen some people unable to afford to continue to support charities. At the same time the need for Pet Refuge is greater than ever with the stresses of Covid-19 and our economic downturn.

Pet Refuge is today launching its Monthly Giving Appeal to give pets affected by family violence the safe-haven they need. A donation of $25 a month to our Safe Beds for Pets programme provides a pet everything they need when they come into our care. This includes transport from anywhere in the country, a warm safe bed (heated floors in the winter!), veterinary care, rehabilitation from abuse, and of course enrichment and love.

“Sadly, I knew they’d be a need for Pet Refuge when we opened the doors but it is far greater than we ever could have imagined. Our 100 pets helped milestone is very sobering, and we want to keep providing a safe-haven for more pets affected by family violence until they can be reunited with their owners to forge a new life together free from abuse,” founder Julie Chapman says. “We rely on donations for this, and now more than ever we need animal lovers to join our Safe Beds for Pets Programme.

To donate visit or call 09 975 0850.

To get help:

0800 PET REFUGE or 0800 738 733 843 or

Women’s Refuge: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843

Men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one: 0800 HEY BRO or 0800 439 276

Police are urging the public to contact them if they think someone is at risk.