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Safe Pets Safe Families Inc

Safe Pets Safe Families is a Register Charity servicing the Australian Community. It was started by Jennifer Howard, who experienced Domestic Violence, and had to flee to safety with her children, without the option to take her much loved dogs. She never saw her dogs again, they were surrendered to the pound and likely euthanised. You can read Jennifer’s story at
Safe Pets Safe Families is passionate and working toward raising awareness and educating about the link between animal abuse and human violence. By working with the community and other organisations we can work towards stopping violence towards people and animals in our communities.
''Thousands of studies support the link between animal abuse and human abuse. Seventy-six percent of animal abusers also abuse a family member. Seventy percent of animal abusers have criminal records. More than 50 percent of schoolyard shooters have histories of animal cruelty. (American studies)
Witnessing domestic violence and animal abuse is a well-documented part of the cycle of family violence. Children exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to abuse animals. Exposure to violence has long-term effects on emotional health. Witnessing animal abuse as a child was found to be the SINGLE BIGGEST PREDICTOR of future violence, making children eight times more likely to be violent.
We are in the process of developing a program that will target children who have witnessed domestic violence towards humans and animals in the hopes that we can reinstall what respectful relationships towards humans and animals are meant to look like.
Currently in Australia there is a service gap so a main service of Safe Pets Safe Families is to provide programs and services that support and assist people in DV situations to be able to leave safely with their children and pets so they can all be reunited when they are back on their feet. Research showed one fifth of women significantly delayed leaving a violent relationshipdue to concern for the welfare of their animal. During this time of crisis, the connections women feel with their animals can become stronger. Our services are also available to people who are already homeless, suddenly become homeless or are experiencing health or financial crisis.
The Safe Pets Safe Families program provides emergency retrieval of animals and a foster care service for up to 12 weeks for the pets of people leaving Domestic Violence situations. This service is also available to people experiencing sudden homelessness, health or financial crisis.
We have a team of Volunteers who transport the animals to and from foster care and a team of Foster Carers who look after the animals in their home as part of their family.
When clients are back on their feet and have suitable accommodation, we are able to reunite them with their pets.
Another Service provided is Paws & Pals, We see this as a bit of a gateway service to people exeriencing homelessness, we found that people experiencing homelessness with pets had some barriers to accessing support from organisations, we have been very successful in getting these pets into foster care so the people can access support and shelter. Companion animals are very important to people experiencing homelessness, research has shown that pets, reduce depression and they would be less likely to commit suicide, less likely to commit a crime and less likely to take drugs. Also, Pets give unconditional love, warmth and no judgement and help with being more social.
Paws & Pals is a program provided by Safe Pets Safe Families Inc that provides an outreach service to people experiencing homelessness who have pets. This includes pop up vet clinics in public parks with our volunteer Vets and Vet Nurses providing free veterinary services such as health checks, vaccinations, microchipping and grooming to people living rough with pets.
*Paws & Pals homeless support is currently only offered in SA

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