Abandoned Pets in Ukraine


Audrey Spohn, Author

Around half a million dogs in Ukraine have been abandoned by their owners. All of this is due to the war in Ukraine, as people fleeing this country haven’t been able to take their pets with them, and are forced to leave them in war zones, such as Irpin and Borodyanka. Other pets are lost when they run away when they hear bombs or other explosions. Dog shelters have been struggling to keep up with the growing number of animals on the street, and it has been hard to treat injured ones. People at shelters either adopt these dogs locally or adopt them out to Poland (after their quarantine period) if the owner is not found. About 75% of the time, the owner can be tracked down when people working at shelters share information about dogs that they have at their shelter online. 

Many shelters have been quickly set up, using old farms, buildings, or other enclosed spaces. Some makeshift shelters are made with only scraps of material after their animal shelters have been bombed. Especially with more and more animals being rescued as temperatures fall, it’s hard for volunteers to find blankets and jackets to keep animals warm. Not only are shelters overwhelmed from the large amount of animals, but there’s a shortage of safe spaces to set up shelters, and not enough volunteers. 

The animals in Ukraine, especially dogs, have also been traumatized due to the war, which has gone on for over a year now. Volunteers at shelters say that some won’t leave their enclosures, and won’t eat or drink anything. Additionally, with so many dogs loose on the streets, rabies is a big concern. There are many organizations trying to get dogs on the street vaccinated. Other organizations are setting up feeding stations for animals, and citizens still in Ukraine are letting animals stay in their homes. Additionally, people who deliver supplies to Ukraine also pick up stray animals along the way. All of these organizations and citizen volunteers are needed as the Ukrainian Government does not have a set way to evacuate animals during wars.