Wigan animal lovers needed to help dog owners fleeing domestic violence
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The Freedom Project, managed by Dogs Trust, offers a lifeline for pet owners escaping from domestic abuse.
It provides temporary foster homes for dogs, enabling survivors to access safe accommodation without the fear of what may happen to the animal.
Pets are often abused and even killed by the perpetrators of domestic abuse to control and coerce.
As well as the physical abuse pets may suffer, Dogs Trust found 97 per cent of professionals in the domestic abuse sector said animals were often used as a means of controlling someone experiencing domestic abuse.
Freedom Project volunteers have seen a 23 per cent increase in demand over the last 12 months, with 211 dogs fostered, allowing 163 people to flee domestic abuse.
It urgently needs more volunteer foster carers so the scheme can support more people.
All costs are covered by Dogs Trust, including vet bills, food, treats, grooming and bedding.
Involvement in fostering is kept confidential to protect both the dogs and the foster carers. Dogs are not fostered within the area that the owner is from and the foster carer will not know who the owner is.
Freedom Project manager Laura Saunders said: “We’ve seen first-hand the ways that perpetrators use dogs to coerce, control, physically harm and threaten within abusive relationships. This is incredibly frightening for survivors and is often aimed to leave people isolated.
“By providing temporary foster homes for dogs, we support survivors to access safe accommodation with the reassurance that their dog will be taken care of until they can be reunited.
“Whilst we are pleased to have been able to help so many people, there is still very much a need for our service and we urgently need more foster carers across the UK so that we can continue this life-saving work.”
The Dogs Trust Freedom Project is looking for volunteers who are at home during the day, potentially people who are retired or work from home.
They must have some experience of caring for dogs and be able to commit to fostering a dog for at least six months.
To help or find out more, visit www.dogstrustfreedomproject.org.uk or call 0808 196 6240.