Sterilization of animals may not seem like a top priority in a war zone, but controlling the proliferation of homeless animals is in fact becoming more important now than ever before. That’s why Nova Ukraine is supporting a pilot program in Odesa that provides free sterilization procedures for dogs and cats.
Spaying and neutering animals is the most humane way to prevent the the number of homeless animals from increasing while also continuing to care for those already in shelters. It is much easier to maintain quality care for dogs and cats if the population remains relatively stable. Curbing the birth rate frees up available resources, prevents the spread of disease, makes communities safer, and provides for longer and healthier lives for these animals.
A crisis of care for homeless animals
Requests for shelter care have increased dramatically since the start of the war. Although an increase in such requests is typical in the spring, this year the number of homeless animals has skyrocketed. More animals are being born in Ukraine right now even as the number of people fleeing the country is going up. Shelters are overcrowded and animals are crammed in the homes of volunteers. Without proper spay and neuter procedures, this situation creates a breeding ground for animals — literally.
Moreover, with new puppies and kittens being found every day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to properly quarantine them, which, in turn, creates a health risk for volunteers and other animals already in shelters. Because these animals are not properly fed and kept in overcrowded conditions, they often develop immunity and behavioral problems.
Caring for kittens and puppies takes up most of the resources at shelters. Neonatal kittens need consistent care 24 hours a day, while older kittens and puppies need vaccines and training in order to improve their chance of being adopted. What’s more, the immune systems of these young animals are not adapted to shelter environments, making them prone to becoming sick more often.
Improving the lives of animals
Another benefit of spay/neuter initiatives is that it increases the lifespan of animals. According to two studies (A U.S. study done by the University of Georgia involving more than 70,000 dogs and a Banfield Pet Hospitals study based on 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats) there is a strong correlation between life expectancy and sterilization in both species. Dogs who were spayed or neutered tended to live about 20 percent more than those who were not, while spayed cats lived 39 percent more and neutered cats 62 percent more.
Nova Ukraine Partners with Animal SOS
To address the growing number of requests for animal sterilizations, Nova Ukraine has partnered with Animal SOS, a pilot program in Odesa to provide these procedures at no cost for homeless animals at seven veterinary clinics. The veterinary specialists generously offer to provide these procedures at cost for Nova Ukraine so that we can, in turn, offer these services free of charge to volunteers on the ground.
Animal SOS has performed 229 such successful procedures over the last month alone. The group takes on the burden of arranging and scheduling, while donors remain dedicated to the cause of animal welfare. Volunteers from all over the region have come to participating clinics and are providing us with full reports, including photos, receipts, and in some cases veterinary write-ups.
We at Nova Ukraine are thrilled to see the impact this program is making in Odesa and plan to expand these services to other regions in the near future.
Your donations make these initiatives possible. Each $25 raised funds the spay or neuter of an animal.
Please indicate “Animal Rescue” in your donation to direct funds towards our animal rescue efforts.