War is hell for animals too

These will also be victims, even if they do not receive humanitarian aid. We are talking to Karolina Kuszlewicz.

More photos and social media posts:

The metro, probably in Kiev, has an escalator with a woman with a child and a large white dog on her back.

On the floor of a train station, at a snack machine, two girls and cats with them: one in a cat carrier, the other without. Around the crowd.

Another photo: an armed man crosses the street, in his hand he carries a transport car with a cat in it and an aquarium with a fish.

Message from Kharkiv from Mrs. Tatiana: I stayed in Kharkiv. I look after a hundred cats. I’m home alone. Karma is running out.

In the Lviv region, a cat was left in the house in a small town. The cat is being fed by her neighbor, the owner already in Warsaw, she didn’t know if she could cross the border with the cat.

Ms. Oksana left the dog in the Khmelnytsky region because the driver of the car they escaped in did not agree to take him inside. Now he begs someone to give him a lift at the Polish border.

In Kiev, Kai’s dog ran away during the invasion, without a collar. The owners find and send Kai’s phone number and photos.

Photo Karma Guide / Facebook.com

It is already known that you do not have to abandon your dogs, cats and ferrets. You can take them. The procedures for the transport of animals have been simplified and the necessary formalities can be completed upon arrival in Poland.

Karolina Kuszlewicz, lawyer and activist working to protect animal rights: – When I woke up on Thursday morning and saw that what we feared had happened, that Russia had attacked Ukraine, I thought people would run away with animals. I have asked the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate to simplify the procedures for entering people fleeing war along with accompanying animals. It is also about the welfare of animals, but also not about exacerbating the human tragedy so that they do not have to consider whether to run away or leave their animal behind, or carry it with a burden, although it is not known what is will happen at the border.

– This thought was so quick, because I remember the case of a Polish woman who ran away from Afghanistan and was unable to enter the European Union with the cat she had adopted there. The entry of animals into the EU is subject to rules that do not take into account the need for an emergency exit. Rather, they are designed for the needs of people who want to go on vacation with their pets, for people who are comfortable in life.

– But I wasn’t the only one who responded. Several lawyers and organizations turned to the ministry, to the chief veterinarian. It is a collective merit. And while in general both the Ministry and the Chief Vet are on both sides of the barricade, I am grateful to them for being quick to respond and opening the possibility for people to enter Poland with accompanying animals without documents, which provided the opportunity to requirements to be completed here – says Kuszlewicz.

Information about the registration with animals can be found on the website of the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate.

Simplification of procedures for horses, which often also have the status of companion animal, are also being considered. – It’s important – says Kuszlewicz. – Humanitarian aid is primarily given to those animals that have a relationship with humans. Colossal changes took place in society and in institutions. Would emails to the ministry from 15 years ago have sparked any response, an immediate simplification of the rules? I don’t think it would be taken seriously. The institution did it not out of compassion, but in response to societal expectations.

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Lions and Tigers

There were fights in the Kiev zoo, a fire broke out. After all, no animal has died yet, but they are certainly traumatized: the bang of explosions is usually more painful for them than for us, their senses perceive both sounds and smells much more intensely. But they can’t escape, they’re locked. Organizing the transport of animals from the ZOO is logistically very difficult, moreover, there are no bridges and any evacuation routes are closed. In a moment, the fight will probably start again in Kiev.

The Pozna Zoo maintains contact with the Kiev Zoo. Julia Vakulenko, head of the science and international cooperation department at the Kiev Zoo, says that employees will stay with their animals for the time being.

The evacuation of animals was carried out by the Save Wild Fund in the village of Czubynskie near Kiev. Animals were rescued from people, as well as from circuses, including predators: lions, tigers, caracals, bears. Troops moved through the city, several animals were injured.

Thanks to international cooperation, some animals would go to shelter in Belgium, others would stay in the Pozna zoo, which organized the transport. However, on February 28 in the evening, while I was talking with the director’s assistant Ewa Zgrabczyńska, who was waiting for animals in Medyka, the car with the animals came across Russian tanks. The driver ran away and Natalia, their guardian, stayed with the animals. For the next tense hours there was no contact with her. In the morning it turned out that the Ukrainian army had helped by opening the corridor and letting the animals through.

How can I help?

Virtually all major animal organizations are involved in helping animals: Asylum in Korabiewice of the Viva! Foundation, Centaurus Foundation, Animal Rescue Poland even has a helpline in Ukrainian.

But it’s better not to call and ask “how can I help?” – the answer to this question can be found on websites that collect information about shelter places, temporary housing, transportation, behavioral therapy, grooming, fundraisers, feed collections, blankets and more.

The foundations are calling on the animals now waiting in Polish shelters to take them home to make room for animals in transit.

Useful Links:

Help for animals in Ukraine – here you will find a table with phone numbers of veterinarians in different cities who provide free help, current information about collections, transport needs.

Transport on the Polish side
Transport on the Ukrainian side
Accommodation offers for people with pets
Help from behaviorists and veterinarians
Material Gifts

The large auxiliary wave at the base also includes animals. There are plenty of transportation and housing offers, but the needs are likely to increase.

What should you keep in mind when bringing home a pet from Ukraine? That’s after a difficult experience: chaos, noise, passed from hand to hand, many hours of traveling – their behavior can be difficult, they need rest, maybe the advice of a behaviorist.

Pigs, cows, chickens

Livestock procedures are more difficult to simplify due to the possibility of disease transmission. However, these animals can also be helped. In the network, more people declare that they accept horses, goats and even llamas. The most tragic is the fate of animals trapped in industrial farms. Trapped, if something happens to their caretakers, or if the karma runs out, which they will need much after all, they will die in confinement, hunger, panic.

– We have opened the borders to companion animals, but there are still millions of them left – says Karolina Kuszlewicz. – These will also be victims, although they will not receive humanitarian aid. Animals are not listed as victims of war in international law.

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