Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, which has been the most aggressive, violent and inhumane war in Europe since WW2, animals in Ukraine have faced many challenges and continue to suffer. While people affected by the war can get some help from Ukrainian government and charity organizations, millions of animals get help from few charity organizations and volunteers who risk their lives going to grey zones to feed abandoned and stray dogs, cats, as well as pigs, horses, cows, sheep, etc. and rescue the most vulnerable ones.
All animal shelters in Ukraine are non-governmental which is why there is a big number of volunteers who feed, rescue, provide medical help, sterilize, and find homes for stray dogs and cats. Before the war individual volunteers put an emphasis on sterilization in order to reduce the number of stay animals, and their efforts were successful. However, now the main priority is at least to deliver food to occupied territories and grey zones. Animals there are in a catastrophic condition and need our help.
Threats that animals of war face every day:
- Hunger (for some it’s starvation)
- Wounds due to mines and shelling
- Death of their owners
- Uncontrolled reproduction due to the increase of stray animals which will lead to more severe hunger
In many villages on occupied territories and in grey zones there are no people left. They have either fled or were killed by Russian forces. Many animals still remain in those deserted areas! Mines and unexploded shells pose another huge threat to animals that remain there. The situation is about to get worse as it’s becoming colder and in winter, malnourished animals are more likely to freeze to death.
How to help animals of war in Ukraine
Luckily, there are volunteers in Ukraine that find ways to help animals on occupied territories and in grey zones. Below I’ll share the most famous local charity organizations and trusted volunteers that help animals in Ukraine. Visit their English Instagram pages to find more information about their work and how you can help them. You’ll find their PayPal on their pages and in their posts.
UAnimals is the largest and the most famous animal rights organization in Ukraine. It’s non-governmental and nonprofit charity organization that existed long before the war and has helped animals the most since the full-scale war began. Visit their English Instagram page to find out more about their work. They also have a Ukrainian page with 119K followers.
UAnimals help animals, animal shelters, and individual volunteers in different regions of Ukraine affected by war, including Mariupol – the city of 400,000, almost completely destroyed by Russian forces, which is currently occupied by Russia. Luckily, it has recently become possible to deliver food to the newly-liberated territories of the Kharkiv region which had been occupied since the beginning of the war.
This team of volunteers help to feed animals in the newly-liberated territories of the Kharkiv region and evacuate some of them to safer places to provide medical help and find new homes for them. You can see what it takes to reach those starving animals: undermined bridges and shells on the roads. Moreover, the number of hungry animals in each newly-liberated village is huge. I’ve heard from the volunteers that only in one village there’re about 300 dogs and 200 cats. This team of volunteers has both a Ukrainian and English pages.
Here is their Ukrainian page on Instagram.
And below is their English page.
This team is famous for first rescuing abandoned animals from closed apartments in Kyiv (when their irresponsible owners fled the capital saving their own lives) by making holes in concrete walls. Then they continued rescuing animals from cities and villages in the Kyiv region like Bucha (where the Bucha massacre took place), Irpen, Hostomel and others.
Now they keep providing medical treatment to injured animals, deliver food to the newly-liberated areas, find new homes for animals and…they are building a shelter for rescued animals! Below is a video with a rescued dog Lys (his name means “fox”, he resembles one, doesn’t he?). He was found in a pit after Ukraine liberated its territories in the Kyiv region. He was lying in the pit, disabled, because Russians broke his spine, threw him in the pit and put a mine near him. Sounds insane? Ukraine is fighting pure evil.
4. Shelter Shans in the Kherson Region (Occupied territory)
A large animal shelter (approximately 800 dogs and more than 100 cats) in the Kherson region needs food every day. The region is occupied by Russian forces, so there is no possibility to deliver food to the shelter from the Ukrainian government-controlled territory. The 2 volunteers that take care of the animals in the shelter have to search for any food that they can find (sometimes its compound feed) yet the prices for this food are insane. Moreover, these volunteers also try to feed stray animals, abandoned animals, sterilize animals, and provide medical help to those animals that need it. Shelter Shans has both an Instagram and a Facebook page. They need huge amounts of food every day!
Kherson is a large city but due to the war, many people fled and many of those who still stay there have lost their jobs and barely make ends meet making it impossible for them to donate to the shelter.
Of course there are many more animal shelters, charity organizations, and volunteers who take care of animals in Ukraine. I’ve mentioned the biggest ones, the most famous and trustworthy volunteers. Make sure you also follow the most famous Ukrainian pets: dog-sapper Patron and cat-blogger Stepan. They’ll surely put a smile on your face after a long day at work! Patron even has a TikTok where he shares hilarious videos!
By the way, Patron is an ambassador for UAnimals (the organization mentioned first on this list). All donations sent to his PayPal account go to UAnimals. UAnimals then send money to shelters and volunteers in need. UAnimals have also launched a free of charge animal sterilization program in several Ukrainian cities.
Cat-blogger Stepan is from Kharkiv – one of the largest cities in Ukraine, which is, unfortunately, close to the border with Russia. Kharkiv is hit by missile strikes every single day. Stepan and his human first fled to France, where the famous cat with more than 1M Instagram followers got a World Influencers and Bloggers Award and made new friends! Recently, he has returned to Ukraine. Although, sadly, not to his hometown because it’s still not safe to stay in Kharkiv.
Many people that have pets (like me, for example) feel awful when they think that somewhere an animal like their beloved pet suffers because it hasn’t eaten for several days of weeks; stepped on a mine, lost its limb and got no medical treatment; got wounded during shelling or is shell-shocked after a missile attack.
Even a small donation can help these silent victims of war whose only hope is to have a full stomach. $5 equals a week of well fed life for a dog and 2 weeks for a cat in Ukraine. Please, spread awareness about the suffering of animals in Ukraine. Share this post with friends and communities. Let’s help animals of war in Ukraine together! Together we can do more.