Dog in the destroyed town of Bucha

From the Ruins: How Stray Animals Are Being Taken Care of in the Streets of Bucha and Other Ukrainian Cities

FOUR PAWS delivers help in full capacity again for homeless dogs and cats across the country


Vienna, 3 June 2022 – The war in Ukraine has entered its 100th day and, FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation is running its Stray Animal Care (SAC) programme again in full capacity in Kyiv, Irpin, Bucha and five other cities (Korosten, Zythomyr, Vinnytsa, Uman, Mykolaiv) across Ukraine.

Prior to the war the SAC team was able to help around 300 animals per month and 30,000 since 2012 when FOUR PAWS first began work in the region. Now the team is able to deliver the same amount of urgently needed care to the countless homeless pets and terrified stray animals in the streets of Bucha and other locations. The important and courageous work consists of vaccinations, neutering and treatment of injuries but also of finding new homes for many animals.

The war has displaced millions of Ukrainians and hundreds of thousands of their pets and animals. The Kyiv area and northeast of the country was particularly affected during the first phase of the invasion and with the Russian military retreating, the full impact of their occupation becomes visible. The entire region in the north of Kyiv is destroyed, many human lives were lost, and houses and essential infrastructure like streets and hospitals are destroyed. Veterinary clinics and shelters, vital to provide care for pets that were left behind and stray animals, are also damaged or semi-abandoned. Many of the animals are terrified, injured and in need of urgent care. FOUR PAWS has set up a temporary veterinary care project in Belogorodka village, Kyiv Oblast, and is now helping in the areas of Bucha, Irpin and surroundings.

The SAC team in Ukraine

Manuela Rowlings, Head of Stray Animal Care (SAC) in Europe at FOUR PAWS, spoke about how key it was to ensure that its SAC team was working at full capacity. “After we had to temporarily suspend our SAC activities due to attacks across Ukraine we are proud to be back at running our activities since the beginning of April. We had to change the way we are operating though, with the team working in smaller groups and closer to home to avoid risks as much as possible in the current situation.

“In the last 50 days we have positively impacted almost 700 dogs and cats in Ukraine. Despite the daily horrors our team on-site is facing, there are also stories of hope, just like the one of two dogs, Kit and Rokki, who, were both well looked after but unfortunately not microchipped. We took them into our care and since we could not find their original owners we were able to find new loving families for them.”

said Manuela Rowlings, Head of Stray Animal Care (SAC) in Europe at FOUR PAWS.

Oleksandr Nazaryshyn, veterinarian in Kyiv region who is supporting FOUR PAWS: “One of the biggest challenges is the constant stress. Not only among humans but also among the animals. Many cats and dogs escaped from their properties during air siren alerts and the shelling as they were scared of the loud noise, or due to damaged fences. At the moment we have a lot to do in our clinic and I sometimes have up to 15 patients a day.”


FOUR PAWS has been working on companion animal projects in Ukraine since 2012 and the Stray Animal Care team has delivered much needed veterinary care to 30,000 stray dogs and cats in over 60 municipalities over the last ten years. The team in Ukraine is operating a mobile clinic, carrying out catch-neuter-vaccinate-return projects in different municipalities in the country.

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Cat in the destroyed town of Bucha, Ukraine

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Michael Kellner

Michael Kellner

PR International Officer

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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