FAQs on the Situation in Ukraine

FAQs on the Situation in Ukraine

The war is also affecting animals – how you can support 

25.4.2023

We are deeply concerned about the situation in Ukraine. We empathise with everyone in the country – humans and animals alike. An armed conflict is a danger for humans and animals, and we continue to monitor the situation with great concern. We are in contact with many organisations and other facilities homing animals, to get continuous updates about their situation.

If you would like to support our animal relief efforts, please donate so that we can ensure that the supplies that are most needed, reach those that need it the most. 

Support our work for Ukraine

Where can I donate to support BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr and our Stray Animal Care project?

Donations for BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr and our Stray Animal Care project can be made here.

How has FOUR PAWS actively supported when the war broke out?

Even since the first weeks of the war, our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr has been a continuous shelter for bears in need – temporarily welcoming seven bears in an emergency rescue mission from White Rock Shelter located in the Kyiv region, run by the organisation Save Wild. Fortunately, three bears were relocated to Germany in March 2022 while the other four bears have been able to return to White Rock Shelter in June 2022. Additionally, we could finally rescue former restaurant bear Vova in March 2022 and bring him safely to our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr. At the end of September 2022, FOUR PAWS rescued an abandoned brown bear Bakhmut from war-torn Donetsk region and transferred him to BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr.

Since the beginning of the war FOUR PAWS has taken several emergency measures to help the animals affected by the war, including the delivery of specialised food for zoo animals to Kyiv Zoo and the delivery of pet food to shelters in need.  

To cover the high and urgent need for dog and cat food at the beginning of the war, FOUR PAWS partnered with Dogs Trust Worldwide and International Registration System Animal ID in 2022, to set up an organisation called Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide (UPAW) that coordinates and distributes pet food and other supplies to registered shelters and volunteers. By the end of 2022, UPAW had taken care of the distribution of more than 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid, which has helped more than 125,000 dogs and cats in Ukraine.

How is FOUR PAWS actively supporting?

In 2022, over 3,350 stray dogs and cats have been sterilised by our Stray Animal Care team, that remains active even under the difficult circumstances of the war, and more than 5,150 dogs and cats have been medically treated.

In October 2022 we launched ‘Project Kishka’, a unique project fully focusing on helping stray cats (Kishka means female cat in Ukrainian) with the aim to sterilise and vaccinate approximately 10,000 Ukrainian stray cats until December 2023.

Additionally, at the end of 2022 we have started a collaboration with USAVA (Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association), in which we help private veterinarians in some of Ukraine’s most affected areas to continue their lifesaving work for both companion animals and stray. Furthermore, we have launched an e-learning course called ‘Shelter Adoption Academy’ which is currently available in English, and Ukrainian. The course aims to substantially increase adoption rates in shelters, create adoption culture among the local communities and improve the quality of life for shelter dogs – as at the moment, sadly thousands of dogs are in shelter without the hope of ever getting out. The course includes an online toolkit and guidelines on welfare management and adoption and is delivered in an interactive format designed for shelter staff and volunteers.

After more than a year since the outbreak of the war and working under difficult circumstances, our dedicated team at BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr is continuously taking excellent care of the 31 rescued bears who are currently homed at the sanctuary. BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr remains a safe place for the resident bears as well as other bears in need in the region. You can find regular updates on the website of the sanctuary: https://www.bearsanctuary-domazhyr.org/

Who can I contact if I am a refugee with a pet and need help?

Please contact Vets for Ukrainian Pets

If you are in Moldova please contact our partner DoctorVet. Tel: +37361014422

Are refugees leaving pets behind?

We are aware of the extremely distressing situation in Ukraine and our hearts are broken about the immense suffering of humans and animals in these difficult times. 

Although some pet owners may have left their pets behind, we are receiving reports of an overwhelming number of refugees bring their pets with them into the EU to safety, where they are receiving food and water, transport boxes, and medical care.

Can refugees cross the border with their pets?

Yes, all European borders are open for refugees with their pets. Please find more details on our info page "Ukraine: How to Cross the Border With Pets"

Are you accepting donations-in-kind to Ukraine?

We greatly appreciate that many of our supporters are offering donations-in-kind to help animals in Ukraine. We have been working hard on finding an efficient way to collect these donations in kind and to distribute them to those who need them the most.

Should you wish to support our BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr and our Stray Animal Care projects in Ukraine and its neighboring countries please donate here.

What can I do to help animals in Ukraine?

Humans and animals alike are suffering greatly under the current situation in Ukraine. 

At FOUR PAWS we are putting all our energy into finding solutions to deliver active support to animals, in shelters and in the streets, but logistics into and inside Ukraine are extremely challenging right now. Please find out more about our activities in and for Ukraine here

Therefore, the most effective way to provide support at this time, is through a financial donation, which we can then use to provide the supplies that are most needed, to those that need it the most.

Can I help at the borders?

Although we greatly appreciate that many supporters offer to provide help at the borders to Ukraine, we strongly discourage individuals from such initiatives. The authorities along with organisations that are trained in humanitarian aid are coordinating their efforts to help refugees – with and without pets – at all border crossings.

The most effective way to provide support at this time, is through a financial donation, which we can then use to provide the supplies that are most needed, to those that need it the most.

Can I volunteer in Ukraine and help in your bear sanctuary?

Although we greatly appreciate the fact that many of our supporters want to offer their help in Ukraine, we strongly discourage individuals from travelling into the country.

BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr, which currently houses 31 rescued bears, is located in the western part of the country and although there have been air attacks reported in this part of the country as well, our colleagues and animals are currently doing well under the circumstances. We continue to take care of the bears in our sanctuary and are of course carefully considering the safety of our colleagues at the same time.

The most effective way to provide support at this time, is through a financial donation, which we can then use to provide the supplies that are most needed, to those that need it the most.

Can I volunteer in Ukraine and help stray animals?

Although we greatly appreciate the fact that many of our supporters want to offer their help in Ukraine, we strongly discourage individuals from travelling into the country.  

Our stray animal care team in Ukraine is normally operating a mobile clinic, carrying out catch-neuter-vaccinate-return projects in different municipalities in the country. However, it is too dangerous to be on the road in these difficult times. Under the current situation, it is not possible to carry out our projects in cooperation with the local authorities. But our SAC team has taken back some of their activities and are currently helping lost or abandoned pets by treating them, helping them to find their families or rehoming them.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact our partner Animal ID https://animal-id.net/ua/ directly.

Is FOUR PAWS still operating its stray animal care project in Ukraine?

Yes, although we had to temporarily pause some of our stray animal care activities at the beginning of the war, our team is now back at full capacity. Find out more about our stray animal care work in Ukraine here.

Why are you stopping the help for refugees in the neighbouring countries such as Romania?

FOUR PAWS’ response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis was swift, coordinating with partner organisations Fallopia in Slovakia, DoctorVet in Moldova, and Animal Society in Romania. Together, we reached over 2,500 people and their animals supplying food, pet carriers, vaccinations, medications, as well as guidance and information.  

A new project was set up recently – Vets for Ukrainian Pets, a reimbursement scheme operating in 38 European countries, supporting private veterinarians treating pets of Ukrainian refugees. The programme will cover the treatment costs of up to five dogs, cats, or horses, up to 250 Euros per animal, for acute care and medication, rabies and other vaccinations as well as microchipping and medical examination required for safe passage through the EU.   

With the gradual decline of refugees crossing the borders with their pets, and with the launch of the Vets for Ukraine initiative, we are starting to refocus our efforts in our organisations’ core projects. We will continue working within Ukraine, through our established Animal Assisted Interventions programme.

Can we interview your team in Ukraine?

Many thanks for your interest in the work of FOUR PAWS and our projects in Ukraine. The wellbeing of our Ukrainian colleagues is of the utmost importance, especially during these difficult and challenging times. We can, therefore, not grant you a live interview.

We are, however, able to offer you an interview in print form and our international colleagues remain at your disposal for live/TV interviews.

For press inquiries, please contact PR-Int@four-paws.org.

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