Vienna, 27 June 2023 – The recent destruction of Ukraine's Kakhovka dam and the subsequent catastrophic floods have caused yet another wave of tragedy for humans and animals alike in the war-ridden country. Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS responded swiftly, supplying pet food, medicines, and rescue equipment to the affected area. A FOUR PAWS veterinarian, as well as local partner veterinarians, helped in clinics treating animals rescued from the floods. One of them is dog Nadiya, a distressed mother of ten puppies, who could be saved as well. While Nadiya and her puppies found safety, many other animals were not as fortunate in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Dog Nadiya, whose name means ‘hope’, was massively stressed and shaken from the harrowing ordeal of trying to survive in the floods and keep her ten puppies safe. The dogs were covered in ticks, as the insects are trying to escape the water by latching on to other creatures. FOUR PAWS veterinarian Dr. Valentyna Danyliv established a bond of trust with the mother dog, enabling their treatment. However, the rescue operation was just the first critical step. The animals require proper aftercare for their recovery and well-being after they have been exposed to polluted floodwaters contaminated with parasites, fleas, and ticks.
“When Nadiya arrived, she would not let anyone touch her or go near her pups. The dogs have experienced immense trauma, and we first needed to have patience with her and gain her trust. Fortunately, we could start the treatments once Nadiya calmed down. We gave the whole dog family anti-parasite and anti-tick treatments and did a thorough examination. The communal enterprise where the clinic is located will now take over finding their owners or finding them new loving homes. Knowing Nadiya and all her puppies are safe and well is a glimmer of hope during devastating and challenging times.”
Dr. Danyliv, FOUR PAWS Veterinarian
On the same day, another dog rescued from the floods was treated by Dr Danyliv. Becky was also covered in ticks and seemed to be frozen in shock while the team comforted her and performed the necessary treatments. Once she started to relax, Becky won the hearts of everyone with her friendly and gentle nature and started happily munching on the food provided for her.
“The war in Ukraine is an ongoing tragedy for humans and animals alike, and the destruction of the Kakhovka dam was another devastating blow. Many lives were lost once again, people robbed of their homes, and the contamination of the water will have long-lasting consequences in the region. We are glad we could provide swift help for animals during the aftermath of flooding. We will continue our work in Ukraine by shifting our main focus again to our existing programmes to help as many stray and abandoned animals possible, especially during these challenging times,” says Manuela Rowlings, Head of Stray Animal Care (SAC) in Europe at FOUR PAWS.
FOUR PAWS in Ukraine
FOUR PAWS has been active in Ukraine since 2012, operating in multiple municipalities across the country. A mobile clinic as well as catch-neuter-vaccinate-return (CNVR) projects are core elements of the successful Stray Animal Care work to help as many animals as possible by reducing the stray populations in a sustainable and humane way. In total, over 33,000 stray dogs and cats were successfully sterilised and vaccinated and received additional medical treatment if needed. According to estimations from the WHO, there are 200 million stray dogs worldwide, with many of them living in Eastern Europe.
After a short hiatus due to the outbreak of the war, FOUR PAWS picked up its activities again in April 2022 and since then delivers much-needed support for stray animals, including those that were already living in the streets as well as pets and shelter animals that were forced to be left behind when their owners fled the country or fell victim to the attacks. Despite the ongoing attacks and dire situation over one year into the war, FOUR PAWS continues its much-needed work across Ukraine to help as many stray and abandoned animals as possible.
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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. www.four-paws.org