Southern Cross Pet Insurance has teamed up with Pet Refuge to provide temporary shelter for animals affected by family violence.
The pet insurer is supporting the charitable trust to build New Zealand’s first shelter dedicated to housing at-risk pets.
New Zealand has the highest rate of domestic violence in the world and a survey* of women whose pets were abused as part of domestic violence found 53 per cent delayed leaving out of fear for their pet’s safety.
Southern Cross Pet Insurance General Manager Anthony McPhail said that like Pet Refuge, Southern Cross sees pets as members of the family.
“It’s a privilege to partner with a charity whose mission is so close to our heart – taking care of our four-legged loved ones. We share the same values and are united in our belief that all animals should be protected from harm.
“Pets are our companions in life and they are worthy of respect and care. They deserve to be kept safe.”
Pet Refuge founder Julie Chapman said cruelty to animals was common in domestic violence situations and fear for their beloved pet’s safety was one reason women delayed leaving their abuser.
“Most can’t take their pets with them when seeking refuge and they fear they will be harmed or killed if left behind. Joining forces with Southern Cross is an important step towards removing a major barrier to women escaping family violence.”
The Pet Refuge shelter is due to open in Auckland in 2021 and will provide national support, transporting dogs, cats and smaller animals from around New Zealand to the shelter.
New Zealand has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world**, with Southern Cross looking after the health of more than 40,000 pets.
*NZ Women's Refuge survey, 2018
**New Zealand Companion Animal Council report, 2016