Boston/Vienna, 17 March 2022 – Over three million people have already fled Ukraine. While many of the refugees have managed to escape with their pets, there are still thousands of animals that have been left behind. To combat this crisis, FOUR PAWS, global animal welfare organization, together with International Registration System - Animal ID and Dogs Trust Worldwide, are setting up a website called Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide (UPAW) that will take donations and facilitate the distribution of dog and cat food to hundreds of shelters in war-torn Ukraine.
The website is near completion and will work as a platform where Ukrainian shelters can register and fill in information regarding their most needed requirements, mainly food and other supplies. Warehouses are being set up to store and distribute the food within Ukraine. As the project is being finalized, UPAW has already been able to distribute over 176 tons of pet food to over 100 shelters in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and many other cities. This equates to feeding over 100,000 dogs and cats.
In addition to the refugee crisis around Ukraine, many people fleeing Ukraine have handed their pets into shelters if they have been unable to travel with them. This has added to the already substantial number of stray animals in the Ukrainian shelters and is an additional burden to the stressed system. Some of the larger Ukrainian shelters who have an online presence have been able to secure help in terms of funds and supplies through social media. However, the public and mini shelters have not been able to do so. This is where UPAW aims to help those most in need.
"Together with Dogs Trust Worldwide we help our trusted Ukrainian partner Animal ID to fund the website and logistical platform UPAW. Once the website is running, we are able to provide every registered and verified shelter and animal welfare volunteers, with a way to request pet food and other humanitarian aid supplies. In addition, pet food suppliers can also make in-kind donations for onward distribution to shelters in Ukraine. This transparent system helps collecting and distributing aid to those in need fairly and equally across the country.”
Manuela Rowlings, Head of Stray Animal Care (SAC) in Europe at FOUR PAWS
FOUR PAWS began working in Ukraine in 2012 helping stray animals. FOUR PAWS’ Stray Animal Care team has delivered veterinary care to 30,000 stray dogs and cats in over 60 municipalities within the last decade. Then, with the development of a FOUR PAWS office in Kyiv, and the construction and opening of BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr in 2017, FOUR PAWS created a species-appropriate home for rescued bears, while also supporting the Ukrainian government with enforcing the ban on the cruel practice of bear baiting.
Due to the dangerous situation, BEAR SANCTUARY Domazhyr is closed to the public. As the health and safety of all FOUR PAWS colleagues in Ukraine are of highest importance to FOUR PAWS, SAC activities have been temporarily minimized until further notice. The SAC team will continue the important work to treat, neuter, and vaccinate stray animals in Ukraine as soon as it is again safe to do so.
FOUR PAWS, in collaboration with local partners, is also currently helping care for Ukrainian refugees fleeing with pets. Specifically, FOUR PAWS helps with vaccinations, microchipping and medical treatments, provides transport boxes for pets, food, leashes and harnesses, temporary accommodation and resources for anyone in Ukraine who needs to cross borders with their pets.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization 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 organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects 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.fourpawsusa.org