Witnessing the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February of 2022 and the subsequent death and destruction that followed, the Nowzad charity knew we had to act.
Whilst humanitarian agencies swiftly moved to support the millions of Ukrainians forced to flee, there was limited support for the animal shelters that had no choice but to remain in place along with the courageous locals who decided to stay and continue to care for the stray dogs and cats that had become accustomed to their care, even though it meant great personal risk for the Ukrainians who stayed.
Sadly we watched as other welfare groups leapt into the fray and immediately commenced transporting, on masse, dogs and cats out of Ukraine and into western Europe. We quickly realised that whilst this was done with the upmost of good intentions, it put an unsustainable pressure on animal shelters in Europe that already had their own stray dog and cat issues. With no outlet for adoptions (the UK, Germany and US to name a few, soon banned the import of dogs and cats from Ukraine, Romania and Hungary), once it was realised that most rescues had not followed the correct vaccination process. Always the threat of rabies and other diseases must be the priority.