Refuge for Pets of Domestic and Family Violence

Senior woman with her dog inside of her house.

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) reported that 1 in 10 women have experienced domestic and family violence during the Covid Pandemic.

But there’s an interesting fact that often goes unreported: One third of pet owners delay leaving a violent home for fear for their pets lives. Multiple studies have shown that domestic abusers often seek to manipulate their victims by threatening or harming pets.

The Safe House for Pets Program has been created by Second Chance Animal Rescue Inc. (SCAR) to provide temporary care for the pets of owners facing enormous challenges as victims of domestic and family violence.

Why is this needed? Because only 3% of domestic violence shelters across the country accept pets.

These owners and their pets have endured a lot of hardship and their bond runs deep. During Covid the need for this program is greater than ever. And the funding has run out.

The Safe House for Pets Program is a vital program within the community and a much needed step to assisting families escaping harmful and violent situations, impacting the lives of hundreds of pets and their owners.

‘We safely house the pets of people escaping violent situations and look after these animals while their owners seek safe refuge. Once they have secured permanent safe housing we reunite them.’ Explains Marisa Debattisa, SCAR CEO

‘The tears and look of pure joy on owners faces when they are reunited with their pets again after a traumatic time is just incredible says Marisa. But they need support to carry out this important work.
‘Now more than ever, funding is hard to come by and donations have dwindled with the Covid Pandemic.’ Marisa explains.

‘We are receiving calls daily asking for help and we try never to turn away any pet owners needing help, but Second Chance is struggling every day to make ends meet and we are looking for a miracle.’ she says.

SCAR was established in 2008 in the loungeroom of SCAR Founder and veterinary nurse, Marisa Debattista, as she realised that too many dogs and cats were being put to sleep simply because pounds and shelters didn’t have the space to keep them. After years of fundraising she has moved the shelter from its previous home in Campbellfield to a new facility in Craigieburn.

The Shelter and Animal Hospital facility in Craigieburn rescues animals, due to be euthanised, from other pounds and shelters and offers them a second chance at finding their forever homes. The Facility also offers affordable veterinary care and free pet food and medical care to the pets of people struggling financially.

To support Second Chance and their vital work please donate at

Leave a Comment