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spaniel and bluebells

Pet Guardian Scheme

The Pet Guardian Scheme is a free service provided by Animals in Distress. It aims to give you peace of mind that, in the event of your death, we will take your pet(s) in, care for them and find them a loving home.

It’s very easy to register with the scheme and ensure that your pet, whether it is a dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig, is cared for when you are no longer around to do so.

Our promise

Animals in Distress find wonderful, forever homes for over 600 dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs every year. We know, first hand, the love that a pet brings into your life and how important it is to know that they will be cared for should something happen to you.

Through our Pet Guardian Scheme, individuals can plan for their pet’s future so that in the event of their death, we will take their pet in, care for them at our rescue centre and try to find them a loving new home.

ginger cat

How does the scheme work?

If you are registered with the scheme, as soon as we are notified that you have passed away, we will arrange to bring your pet into our care.

Once at the rescue centre, our dedicated team of staff and volunteers will care for them and ensure they are looked after in line with the charity’s policies and procedures, including neutering, vaccination and microchipping.

It is important to stress that whilst we will never put a healthy animal to sleep just because it has no home, where it becomes necessary on health grounds or where it may pose an unacceptable risk to other animals or people, it may have to be a consideration. Rest assured we will always make the best decision for your pet.

Is the service free?

The service is FREE. However, we simply wouldn’t exist without public donations, and without kind gifts left to us in our supporters’ Wills. That’s why we ask you to consider leaving a gift in your Will, so we can continue our vital work in finding forever homes for the homeless pets of South Devon.

two rabbits - Lucy D Photography

How to register

Registering with the service is straightforward and will cover you for any pets (dogs, cats, rabbits or guinea pigs) you may have at the time of your death, but please provide as much information as possible to help us care for them.

Whilst we don’t have a formal limit on the number of pets we will take into our care, there are obvious difficulties in finding space at short notice for a large number of animals so we ask that you get in touch with us to speak about your circumstances if you have more than 3 of any one animal.

To register, please download our printable registration form.

Download the registration form here 

Complete and return your form to: Animals in Distress, Biltor, Edgelands Lane, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 5UF.
If you have more than 3 of any one animal, please get in touch with us to speak about your circumstances first.

Once you have filled in the registration form, please also leave any instructions in your Will to confirm your wishes and to ensure that we are contacted in the event of your death. The suggested wording we use is: “My Executors should contact Animals in Distress Torbay and Westcountry, Biltor, Edgelands Lane, Ipplepen, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 5UF (Registered Charity Number 1105487 to arrange for the care of any cat/dog/rabbit/guinea pig (delete as appropriate) that I may own at the time of my death.”

guinea pigs

What happens next?

Once we have received your completed registration form, you will receive a letter to confirm that you are registered to the service, along with a membership card to carry in your purse/wallet and information sheet to notify others that you have made these arrangements. Please keep these and fill them in accordingly. These items will be useful to notify others that you have a pet, and to inform them of your wish for us to take care of your pet in the event of your death.

Gift in Will

Many people who register with our Pet Guardian Scheme also choose to remember Animals in Distress in their Will, to recognise the valuable service we are providing for their pets. You can find out more about how a gift in your Will could make the difference to the lives of homeless pets in the future in our [Gifts in Wills] section on our website.

pug dog

Keeping us updated about your pet

If you have already registered to our Pet Guardian Scheme but you have acquired another pet or you have sadly lost a pet, it’s always helpful if you can let us know about any of these changes. This will ensure that we have the most up to date information available; allowing our staff and volunteers to care for them in the best way possible and find them new homes that will best suit their needs.

You can keep us updated with any new information by getting in contact with us by phone, email or post.
Telephone: 01803 812121
Post: Pet Guardian Scheme, Animals in Distress, Biltor, Edgelands Lane, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 5UF

See Frequently Asked Questions