Pet lovers across the globe are wondering how to help the animals of Ukraine, as heartbreaking images of refugees and their pets, and of strays left behind, increase day by day.
As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine rages on, the main concern and media attention is, understandably, on how to help the people of Ukraine. Sadly, in the midst of all this chaos, some heartbroken owners have been forced to flee without their beloved pets, owing to a myriad of unfortunate reasons.
Some animals, spooked by the sound of heavy artillery and shelling, have found themselves lost and disoriented, with their devastated owners left with no choice but to leave without them. Many owners have been forced to leave their animals behind because of regulations in the countries they're seeking refuge in. Other pets have sadly lost their owners among the hundreds of recorded civilian fatalities since the conflict escalated in late February 2022.
A statement from PETA UK (opens in new tab) reads, "We strongly urge people not to leave their animals behind. Just like humans fleeing from war, companion animals will be scared and stressed and are dependent on their human guardians for comfort and security."
Help is urgently needed to save the animals left behind and luckily, there are ways that you can help right now.
How to help animals in Ukraine now
Donate to animal charities working on the ground to save, treat, and rehome animals
Animal charities like the Dioz charity and the ADA Foundation, located in Przemysl, a Polish city, have been helping as much as they can. Although many people are wondering should they volunteer in Poland, the reality is local charities are better equipped to help right now.
The charities are only 30 minutes away from the Ukrainian border and their staff and volunteers have been risking their lives to evacuate stray and injured animals who've been left behind.
They're also treating them and nursing them back to health and once they're recovered—putting them up for adoption.
Donate to international charities, working alongside smaller organisations
Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, James Sawyer, UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) laid bare the emergency at hand. "The devastation caused by some of these rocket attacks, that open environment full of glass, concrete, and metal is dangerous to people but also to animals."
IFAW supports shelters in Ukraine and has been supplying resources like food, veterinary supplies, and much-needed wages for shelter staff. These brave staff members are risking their own safety during the ongoing war, to ensure animals can carry on being looked after.
The charity is also helping zoos, wildlife facilities, and wild animals too.
Find out how you can donate to IFAW on their website. (opens in new tab)
PETA Germany are working hard to get urgently needed supplies to animals in need, as well as bravely crossing the border into Ukraine to rescue animals. They're providing veterinary care, support, and helping reunite some lucky animals with their owners, and when needed—rehome them too.
Find out how you can donate to PETA Germany on their website (opens in new tab)
Consider adopting an animal in need
One charity helping in the effort to rehome dogs in the UK is the animal charity Paw Help Rescue. (opens in new tab)
Head of the charity, Elina Olifaruk, explained to BBC News (opens in new tab) that some pets are left as "families are scared they won't be let through the borders with them."
Elina, a native Ukrainian added, "They cry and they're heartbroken, but they leave them and ask us to help." The animal lover set the charity up in 2020 and as more and more animals need rehoming, they're doing their best to help.
Find out how you can donate, foster, or adopt on the Paw Help Rescue Facebook page. (opens in new tab)
Donate to UK based charities assisting Ukrainian animals in need
Although countries like Poland have made it possible for refugees fleeing with their pets to enter the country without vaccinations, microchips, and blood tests—many other countries aren't so hospitable.
Since uproar from the general public, the UK have loosened their regulations on the above. DEFRA announced a, "streamlined system with the government covering the costs of any necessary stays in quarantine for the pets of those fleeing Ukraine."
The UK charity Paws And Whiskers Sussex are working with groups in Romania, trying to help empty as many shelters in the country as possible—by getting these animals to the UK.
This means there's space in the Romanian charities to take on the influx of Ukrainian pets in need. Hannah Carter, the group's director, spoke to BBC News (opens in new tab).
She explained, "The plan is once the Ukrainian animals have received veterinary care and assessments, then we can also begin to find homes for them as well."
Find out more about how to donate, foster, or adopt at the Paws and Whiskers Sussex Facebook page (opens in new tab).
Support animals that aren't household pets too
“It’s almost impossible to evacuate animals, because it’s impossible to provide appropriate veterinary service and transportation,” Kiev Zoo Chief Kyrylo Trantin told Euro news (opens in new tab) in a recent interview.
With food supplies running low, and times getting increasingly desperate, these animals and their zookeepers are in dire straits.
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria are working tirelessly to support zoos on the ground. The funds will, "provide food and care to animals in conditions of relative welfare and safety, as well as providing support for care staff and management at the zoos."
Find out more about how to donate to EAZA on their website. (opens in new tab)
Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.
She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.
Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.
Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.
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