Transform A Street Dog, a non-profit that rescues and rehabilitates the street dogs of Ukraine, already had their hands full before the Russian invasion in February 2022. Now, as citizens hurry to evacuate the country and its larger cities, even more dogs have been abandoned.
Ukrainian volunteers for TASD found themselves unable to evacuate the country because they refused to leave the 35 dogs in their care behind. Red tape makes transporting dogs across borders very challenging, and even during war, these people refused to abandon dogs in need.
Committed To The Dogs Even During War
As the animal rescuers in Kyiv sheltered from shelling in subway tunnels, others worked logistics to help get them all out. On “Morning In America,” Katya Kurletz emphasized Transform A Street Dog’s commitment to their cause and their volunteers during this time:
“This situation is that people are afraid to leave their houses because they know that Russians make no difference between military and civilians so it’s very dangerous outside. We have to help them somehow.”
Transform A Street Dog collaborated with rescue Sochi Dogs to raise funds for transportation. They also sought potential foster homes for some of the dogs.
On March 4, TASD posted that the rescuers trapped in Kyiv were finally able to leave the city. Finding transportation for all of these dogs was a huge challenge, and the organization thanked those who supported their risky mission.
“They are headed to a safe shelter who agreed to take our dogs! We had been struggling for days to help our 2 loyal volunteers be able to evacuate with their children and elderly parents, BUT the problem was they REFUSED to leave without the 35 dogs that they care for, and who we sponsor. Finding transportation in a war zone for 35 animals was close to impossible but since we have received so many donations from you all, and we have some very dedicated and brave volunteers, we were able to make it happen!”
The actions of these volunteers, who could have fled but wouldn’t leave behind the dogs, are truly selfless.
Continuing To Work For The Dogs Of Ukraine
Some of the dogs currently stuck in Ukraine belong to people who had to flee, and they’re beloved family members. Part of Transform A Street Dog’s work involves reuniting lost dogs with their families and finding shelter for abandoned ones. They’ve also had to break into locked apartments to retrieve animals left behind.
Lately, they’ve been working extremely hard to get a growing number of dogs, cats, and other pets out of the country. TASD has been working with European agencies for pet evacuation assistance. The organization also pays local drivers to take animals to the border for extraction.
A GoFundMe page established to support the pet owners and street dogs of Ukraine during these dire times asks:
“Please help us to support pet owners, abandoned dogs, and street dogs in Ukraine that are all affected by the senseless Russian invasion of Ukraine and its people.”
The funds raised will pay for more transports and any arising medical costs. Currently, the fundraiser is just past halfway to its goal of $10,000. Visit Transform A Street Dog’s website to learn more about their important work.
Asking The CDC To Lift Dog Bans
As shelters in Ukraine and surrounding ally countries fill up, rescuers need help saving the animals. Importation laws, however, make it difficult for U.S. rescuers to step in.
On their websites, Transform A Street Dog and Sochi Dogs posted a letter to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) asking them to “consider granting special permission to rescue groups in the U.S. to save dogs and cats from this crisis.”
The letter, addressed to Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky and Dr. Emily Pieracci of the CDC, requests that the organization temporarily lift the CDC dog importation ban for Ukraine.
“As the war in Ukraine intensifies, thousands of people are fleeing their homes. While some are able to bring their beloved pets with them, many dogs and cats are being left behind. Shelters in Ukraine are overflowing. Rescue organizations in the US have the opportunity to help these animals in need,” the letter states.
Anyone interested can sign that letter here.