Nearly seven million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. At least 30% of Ukrainians were forced to leave behind their pets, which results in millions of domesticated animals without homes. Currently, these animals are wandering the streets of Ukraine alone, without food, and vulnerable to bomb and missile attacks. Many countries have changed their laws to make it easier for humans to migrate but inadvertently made it harder for animals. This results in many animals trapped in Ukraine without their families or care.
Do you wonder how dire their circumstances have to be in order for someone to choose to leave their animal behind? Imagine: missiles raining down from the skies as you make a beeline with your children for the bus or train station. From there, you’re told to leave your luggage to make more room for people. Pets are not allowed.
You have no choice but to either let them loose at the station or try to find a nearby shelter. Shelters are currently over capacity—Gostomel Kyiv shelter has 400 dogs alone. They only have four staff to care for all these animals, but lack food, supplies, and medication.
So what happens to all of these animals? Some animals have stayed behind, guarding their homes for weeks at a time, in the hopes their owners will come back. Others roam the streets, fighting other animals for food. But without someone to care for them, they will starve, feeling heartbroken and abandoned.
Many are risking their lives making daily trips into Ukraine to deliver these needed supplies to care for these abandoned animals. Anastasia Yalanskaya was delivering dog food to a shelter outside Kyiv when she was shot and killed by Russian troops.
We can't ignore these innocent annimals. Let’s take strong action to keep innocent animals healthy and safe–after all, they depend on us.
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