Abandoned Charlie a DFV survivor

Charlie was placed in RSPCA care after he was found abandoned in an Ipswich dog park as a result of domestic and family violence.

Charlie is the animal face of the domestic and family violence (DFV) epidemic.

The one-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier is in RSPCA care after he was found abandoned in an Ipswich dog park in January. To his collar was attached a note which implied he would be harmed if he remained in his domestic situation:

A member of the public took Charlie to the RSPCA’s Wacol facility, where he entered the organisation’s Pets in Crisis program, run in partnership with DV Connect.

RSPCA Queensland’s Community Project Specialist Nanda Ten-Grotenhuis said the program played an important role in keeping pets and their families together when they were fleeing DFV, and called on the legal profession to help publicise it.

Nanda said not only did the program offer a safe place for pets to stay while their owners were seeking assistance, but it allowed animals to receive basic vet checks, vaccinations, and preventative treatments, as well as free desexing.

“The program makes it possible for people to attend important medical or legal appointments as they do not have to worry about leaving their pet unattended or at risk staying with the person they are fleeing from,” she said.


Nanda said some program participants were sleeping in their cars with their pets before seeking help.

“One client who was able to collect her pet after a few weeks said the program was a lifesaver in more ways than one,” she said.

“Reuniting the pet with their owner is the best part of this program. It is often very emotional for the client and their pet. They literally jump for joy when they see their owners again after several weeks, sometimes months in care.”

The RSPCA is asking lawyers to help raise awareness of the program and its availability at Animal Care Centres across the state, via notifying clients and sharing the information in professional and personal networks.

“Law firms could also advocate for more pet-friendly and affordable housing to be made available, or even lobby the government to build affordable housing if their clients have to relocate,” Nanda said.

“Currently the Pets in Crisis program’s biggest challenge is there not being any suitable, safe and affordable accommodation available for people and their pets.”


In the meantime, a now healthy-weight Charlie is enjoying snuggling and chasing a frisbee with his foster carers Andrew and Michelle.

The couple described him as laidback and affectionate, and admitted they would struggle when it came time to hand him over to a forever home.

For information on the RSPCA’s Pets in Crisis program, visit the website. The RSPCA’s annual Million Paws Walk fundraiser is on Sunday.

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One Response

  1. I am so pleased to see such a wonderful and thoughtful program in place. I will be sure to let people know about this program.

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