Whenever you create a function, whether through initial design or refactoring, you need to give some thought to it's error handling.
Error handling is typically done either via return values (e.g. empty return - gives undef in scalar context or empty list in list context) or by exceptions (with raw eval/die or with a module which provides some syntactic sugar, such as Exception::Class).
There are also bizarre various ways to do this in perl, like the subroutine goto above, or you could stick a loop around the whole thing and call next in the subroutine instead of return. But imho these sorts of things don't aid readability or maintainability - which is the purpose of refactoring in the first place.