Continuous support and compassion from our donors has provided help for 1,416 animals, including 1,063 evacuated animals and 302 medical interventions, during the month of March. This brings our animal welfare spending to $833,027, which has reached 89,661 animals since the beginning of the war.
Behind every dollar is a muzzle, a wet nose, a tail or a hoof. Here are some highlights from this month:
Hatul Madan Animal Shelter
Hatul Madan Shelter was born out of necessity following animal evacuations from the de-occupied Kyiv Regions in the spring of 2022. Irpen and Bucha were full of pets and strays that were left behind in the chaos of the evacuations. Together with other groups of volunteers, Hatum Madan ventured into devastated areas, rescuing emaciated and injured animals from locked apartments, yards, and those wandering the streets. Some were lost, others abandoned, but all of them were waiting for someone to rescue them.
A continuous influx of animals quickly became unsustainable for the existing shelters in Kyiv. In an incredibly kind gesture, the Kyiv Polytechnical Institute granted Katerina Dubrovska and Sofya Danilova, the founders of Hatul, their initial space for the shelter. Volunteers, friends, and family banded together to quickly construct temporary kennels and enclosures to house the animals. It took merely a month to fill up the available space.
To accommodate the continuous evacuees from hot zones like Lysychansk, Bakhmut, and Kherson, the shelter required expansion. In late fall of 2022, a new location was selected and basic remodeling began. With funding from Nova Ukraine, the new shelter was able to install thermal insulation, provide appropriate ventilation, as well as build a quarantine space, divided quarters for different animals, and an ICU.
In addition, a generous grant from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was allocated through Nova Ukraine to install 96 cat enclosures and 14 dog kennels at the shelter. These modular systems provide safe and effective housing on site, and can also be used in case of emergency evacuation to load and secure animals into vehicles.
Over 150 animals have found new homes and families since the establishment of the new shelter location, and success stories continue to pour in. With the help of our supporters and unified work of organizations and volunteers, our accomplishments are limitless.
Evacuations – Even The Fish
What happens when a pet store in a hot zone reaches out for help evacuating 2,000 fish?
The Zoo World pet store has been a safe haven in Konstantynovka – a city in one of the most devastated regions in Ukraine. The city was struck in the first few hours of the full scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and has remained at the frontlines since, suffering heavy shelling and missile attacks. As people fled for their lives, Zoo World’s owners Elena and Grigory continued to accept surrendered pets. They were able to hold out for over a year until March 24, 2023, when a missile strike near the store damaged the building and left 5 dead. The imminent threat became unbearable, and Elena and Grigory made the difficult decision to evacuate.
Evacuations are complicated processes that involve a lot of planning, and even more resources. Besides the physical relocation of animals, many volunteers and organizations have to come together to create a viable solution – who will drive, who will ensure safe transportation, who will absorb the incoming animals, who will provide basic needs upon arrival, who will provide veterinary treatment – and so on. In addition to the complexities of organizing a rescue mission, all animals require a nuanced approach; visibility between animals should be limited, bonded pairs should remain together, horses must be kept calm, with blinds for boarding and transportation, temperature must be regulated for reptiles, and so much more. Animals are also incredibly perceptive and sensitive to movements, intonations, and pheromones, which makes human nonverbal communication significant in these evacuations. With all this in mind, we strive to do everything we can to make every trip as safe and uneventful as possible, even though we rarely have all the necessary resources to meet these demands.
To rescue 2,000 fish, Animal Rescue Kharkiv, a Kharkiv-based organization that Nova Ukraine has been supporting since March 2022, has arranged a series of evacuations. Three trips have already been made, bringing 570 fish to safety. Fish need to be packaged in bags filled with their fish tank water and then hyper-inflated with oxygen, then placed in insulated boxes to preserve the temperature during the four-hour journey to safety. So far, many of the fish have found homes in smaller tanks in people’s homes. In addition to a large fish tank that was installed in the Animal Rescue Kharkiv veterinary clinic, nearly every member of the team has a small fish tank at home now, and more evacuations are underway to complete the relocation project.
Saving fish may seem trivial in the midst of a war, but saving the lives of every being is about more than just those scaly lives. It is about refusing to give up our humanity and values. It is about bringing light and life in times of darkness and death. It gives hope and opportunity to people enduring the direct effects of war. Zoo World gave people the chance to flee by accepting their surrendered pets. Many of the evacuees admit they would not have left otherwise. Now with the funding from our donors and the incredibly brave volunteers in Ukraine, we are able to give Elena and Gregory a chance to finally seek safety for themselves by saving the lives of their dependents.
Reunification of Families – Dana
Two of the most common and devastating scenarios we see over and over again are animals being given up either because of temporarily unpredictable evacuation accommodations, or because of unbearably dangerous conditions from which the owners refuse to evacuate. In both of these scenarios, families are desperate to stay together, but circumstances make it exceedingly difficult and unsafe. Delayed evacuations deplete resources and put both the residents and the volunteers that continue to supply aid at risk. This is where providing temporary animal housing becomes crucial for families. By providing indefinite shelter to people’s furry family members while they settle in a new location, we provide safety to the animal, security to the family, and an opportunity to reunite them as soon as possible. This is a much more reliable long-term solution for these loved animals than trying to place them in a new home.
Dana and Zina are an archetype of this scenario. During an evacuation mission funded by Nova Ukraine in Bakhmut at the end of November, several residents requested evacuations of their pets because they feared for their animals’ lives. Zina doubted that her cat Dana would survive the winter without power while she prepared for a relocation that could come suddenly and unexpectedly. Animal Rescue Kharkiv was able to take Dana and give Zina reassurance that they would be reunited whenever possible.
It took Zina over two months to successfully evacuate from Bakhmut to Dnipro – she made it just in time before the supply bridge was destroyed and evacuations became impossible. She was able to settle down, find housing that allowed pets, and an income to support them both. Our supporters’ kind donations made these unimaginably difficult times for Zina and Dana a little easier.
We are all vital pieces of this operation. Everything starts with our caring and generous donors, without whom none of this would be possible. You give our Nova Ukraine Animal Welfare team an opportunity to coordinate, strategize, organize, optimize, and distribute aid where it is needed most. And shelter workers, animal caretakers, foster homes, and veterinary workers in Ukraine are able to do the labor. Lastly, kind and compassionate families open their doors to these innocent furry casualties of human conflict. None of these would be possible without every link of this chain. Thank you for your support!
Please indicate “Animal Rescue” in your donation to direct funds towards our animal rescue efforts.