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The Pets in Crisis program helps people at risk of violence keep their pets while finding safe homes

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When Kerry Herd no longer felt safe in her own home, she was faced with a difficult choice.

Entering a shelter, but being forced to abandon her cat, or staying at home and continuing to fear for her safety.

“I wouldn’t have left Princess Henrietta if she couldn’t go somewhere safe,” she said.

“I would have spent another three and a half months in this unit, fearing that the attacker would return.”

Difficult choice avoided

But an RSPCA scheme offered a third option: to host Princess Henrietta until Ms Herd left the shelter and found another place to live.

The pair was among 174 families in Western Australia who have been helped by the government-backed Pets in Crisis programme, which has cared for 268 pets over the past five years.

Kittens waiting to be adopted in a cage.
The RSPCA has hundreds of animals looking for new homes or foster families.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)

Similar schemes are running in most states across the country, but the RSPCA is looking for more foster families to look after everything from dogs and cats to rabbits to keep up with demand.

Ms. Herd’s story is not uncommon for people fleeing domestic violence and other similar situations.