Budget boost for vulnerable animals

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, local MPs Christine Couzens, Darren Cheeseman, Lisa Neville and Andy Meddick with Cherished Pets staff. (Supplied) 280697_01

Ash Bolt

An Ocean Grove organisation that helps provide support for animal welfare support for people experiencing family violence has received major funding boost in the state budget.

Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas joined local MPs at Cherished Pets last week to announce $465,000 in funding for the service.

The funding will support the delivery of its Geelong Pets in Crisis Project, which provides immediate respite for the pets of people experiencing housing insecurity or fleeing violence.

The project is designed to provide people fleeing violence or experiencing homelessness with peace of mind their pet is safe so they can focus on their own safety and wellbeing.

The funding will go toward pet boarding facilities that can be accessed at short notice as well as expand the team’s veterinary social work services to respond to complex crisis cases.

Ms Thomas said the funding acknowledged the importance of keeping families and their pets together.

“We’re ensuring locals escaping family violence or experiencing homelessness can access immediate respite for the pets through trusted organisations,” she said.

Cherished Pets founder and director Dr Alicia Kennedy said the funding would provide welcome support for the organisation, which also supported pet owners living with disability or mental illness.

“We are grateful for this funding which will enable us to meet a rising demand for crisis pet care in our region for people experiencing physical and mental health or personal security challenges, while supporting the health and wellbeing of the companion animal,” she said.

The funding was part of a $615,000 commitment in the budget for animal welfare organisations.

The remaining $150,000 will allow the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre with $150,000 to expand its Pets in Crisis Program, which finds pet-friendly emergency accommodation for victims of family violence.