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No one should have to leave their pet behind. Heartbreakingly, that’s what thousands upon thousands of Ukrainian pet parents are facing as they seek refuge amid Russia’s invasion. 

Although many pets are safely evacuating with their pet parents, thanks to relaxed restrictions on pet travel adopted by many neighboring countries, not everyone is as fortunate. The animals left behind are in critical need of food, supplies, and veterinary care. Animal shelters in Ukraine fear they will run out of food soon.

When dogs were banned from outgoing flights, one student decided he’d stay behind with his pup. 

“I decided then that if my dog can’t leave, I won’t either,” Rishabh Kaushik told The Times of India. “I know that there is (a) risk in staying on but I can’t just abandon him. Who will take care of him if I go?”

In Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, the owners of the Cat Café refuse to leave their business so their felines are not left behind. According to a message posted on their Facebook page, they’re also donating 20 percent of all checks to the Ukrainian army. 

We have received many requests for information on how to help pets and animal shelters in Ukraine. To support those protecting animals affected by the conflict, we’ve curated a list of agencies and organizations in need of assistance. 

Animal Shelters in Ukraine and Charities to Support

Casa Lui Patrocle Animal Rescue

This animal rescue organization, based in Suceava, Romania, is offering support and assistance to Ukrainian families entering Romania who are accompanied by animals. This includes finding accommodation, shelter, or veterinary care for the animals in need, regardless of species, according to a post on their Facebook page

Eurogroup for Animals

This leading animal welfare organization in Europe has vetted a list of reputable animal welfare charities that are either working in Ukraine or with animals from Ukraine. They have also shared a list of countries that have temporarily lifted restrictions so refugees can bring their pets across borders. To lend support, donate here.  

Happy Paw Foundation

This Kyiv-based nonprofit provides support for hundreds of dogs across 15 animal shelters in Ukraine. To contribute funds toward pet food, medicine, and other shelter supplies, as well as gasoline to fuel generators, give directly through Happy Paw’s donation page.

International Fund for Animal Welfare

This global animal welfare and conservation organization is raising funds to send emergency assistance to partner animal shelters in Ukraine, such as Shelter Pif (Donetsk) and Holivka Shelter (Gorlovka). These shelters are especially in need of dry dog food. To support IFAW’s efforts to provide these shelters with food and veterinary supplies, donate via the IFAW website.

The IFAW recently shared an update from one of their shelter partners: “Our dogs are very scared. Many do not leave [their dog houses]. [Indoor] dogs do not go outside. We are without rest and breaks at the shelter. It’s very difficult for us right now. We are grateful to everyone. We really want peace. We are extremely tired mentally and physically. You are there and we feel it. THANKS! 10,000 times THANK YOU to everyone!” 

United Animal Rescue

This group of animal protectors and volunteers from different countries is sending donations to their rescue partner in Ukraine so the shelter can continue providing for hundreds of animals. Dogs of Instagram is raising funds with Cuddly to help United Animal Rescue send much-needed food and supplies to Ukraine. To donate, click here.

Network for Animals 

This nonprofit organization provides financial support and logistical help for animal shelters and animal welfare initiatives across the globe while also raising public awareness about animal issues. They are currently raising funds for animal shelters in Ukraine that are in dire need of dry pet food, medical attention, and care. Learn more about how you can help on the Network for Animals website.

Doing Their Part: Other Groups to Follow

Here are a few other organizations and groups that are doing their part to help animal rescue efforts in Ukraine and sharing useful information:

  • UAnimals: This Ukrainian animal rights organization is working to help over 50 shelters in Ukraine with supplies and animal transfers. 
  • International Animal Protection League: This animal refuge located outside of Kyiv is currently caring for homeless animals.
  • Shelter Ugolyok: This animal rescue and farm sanctuary in Ukraine is working to help hundreds of farm animals survive the Russian onslaught.
  • Sirius: As one of the largest animal shelters in Ukraine, Sirius has been caring for stray animals in Kyiv and its suburbs for 20-plus years. To lend support and find out how you can help, follow them on Instagram.
  • International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA): Founded in 1991, OIPA is working with member league association volunteers who are operating in Kyiv. Follow their website for current information.
  • National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA): This South African-based animal welfare organization is supporting relief efforts for animal shelters across Ukraine. Learn more on the NSPCA’s Facebook page
  • Vet.Crew: Leonid and Valentina Stoyanov, a pair of veterinarians in Ukraine, are assisting both people and their pets who were abandoned or left behind so their owners could defend their country.
  • Ukraine Animal Rescue Information: If you need more information or want to join the discussion, check out this public Facebook group. 

Tips to Ensure Rescue Organizations Are Legit

During hardships and times of war, there are always unscrupulous people who set up scam websites. The organizations and groups on our list have been vetted as legitimate. Beware of charity scams with these tips:

  1. Stick to well-known organizations. Be certain they have a background in helping the animals they claim to assist. 
  2. Donate your money through the organization’s website directly if possible.
  3. Charities don’t usually ask for gift cards or to wire money. 
  4. Use caution if you receive an unsolicited email attempting to garner funds. If you click on a suspicious link, it may install malware on your computer.
  5. A Facebook friend recommendation does not mean an organization is legitimate. Use caution and vet the group before donating.
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