Save the Dogs and other Animals is Romania’s leading animal welfare organization. The organization was founded in 2002 to promote a culture in Romania where people recognize the importance of animal welfare in their communities and where the inhumane killing of stray dogs stops. Save the Dogs and other Animals provides free sterilization and treatment for animals living in the streets and living as free-roaming members of their communities. The organization recently rescued 30 dogs from a war-damaged shelter in Ukraine, provides supplies and other support for refugees crossing from Ukraine to Romania, sends pet food to animal shelters in Ukraine, and provides supplies for refugees at Bucharest airport. When appropriate, dogs and cats are rehomed through an international adoption program. The facilities in Cernavoda, Romania, typically have around 120 dogs, 40 cats, 60 donkeys, and 20 horses.
In its Ukraine response, they’ve sent more than 10 tons of pet food to shelters and volunteers who feed street dogs and cats, and they’re planning to send more than 16 tons in the next week or two. They’ve helped more than 400 refugees’ pets and given away more than 300 pet carriers and hundreds of other pet supplies. They rescued 30 dogs from a Ukrainian shelter damaged by a Russian attack.
A family in shock, comprising a grandmother, a mother, and her teenage son, arrived at Romania’s border point at Isaccea, chilled to the bone and accompanied by their dachshund named Odessa.
They had escaped from the besieged city of Mykolaiv. Their home has been razed to the ground. They are safe, but they have nothing left. After arriving at the border with Romania, they were given food and shelter at the relief aid center installed there by the Romanian authorities. The Save the Dogs and other Animals team provided them with a dog coat for Odessa, food, and an animal carrier. It was an emotional moment for the family to witness everyone’s solidarity with their plight and the compassion shown for their pet.
Many people have chosen to flee with their animals before bomb attacks prevent them from leaving Ukraine. This scenario was the case for Helena, a young girl who came to our relief station to ask us to help her and her dog. Helena was the only person to escape Kherson. Her family is still stranded, now prevented from leaving the city because of the fighting that is taking place.
Helena is traveling solo with her dog Kuzma, the only member of the family still with her. Helena needed a pet carrier to carry on her journey to a safe haven, which we were able to provide along with some food supplies and a dog blanket. It is incredible that for animals like Kuzma, their survival can depend on a simple thing like a pet carrier, which is essential so that they and their owners can continue their onward journey by plane, bus, or train. This accessory is such an everyday item, but it can make all the difference in the world for those who have lost everything.
“Thank you so much for helping animals during this difficult time. I did not find help for the animals to evacuate, so we stayed at shelter. Your help is a salvation for us”
May 11 (from Gregg Tully, Country Director):
The need for pet food in southern Ukraine has become overwhelming. Many people who fled the country left their pets behind, and many of the people who fed street dogs and cats every day also escaped, resulting in far more animals roaming the streets and far less food. One of our contacts in Mykolaiv said, “It is no longer possible to count the number of abandoned animals.”
Because of the support you’re raising, Save the Dogs and other Animals is increasing our donations of pet food to Ukraine and expanding the area we’re supporting. Instead of delivering one or two tons a week, we’ve sent 15 tons at a time, and next week we’ll send 20 tons to Odessa where the recent attacks make the need even more urgent. I’m collaborating with an organization to hopefully send five tons from Odessa to Kharkiv. However, the regulations about importing supplies to Ukraine seem to change every week and it’s hard to find drivers who are willing to make the trip.
We’ve sent more than 30 tons of pet food to 11 shelters and over 150 volunteers who feed street cats and dogs in Ukraine, benefiting more than 2,300 dogs and 2,000 cats. This wouldn’t be possible without you.
My main contact in Izmail told me, “Many houses have become mini shelters since there are no animal shelters in our city. People feed the animals as best they can, but because of the war, many were left without work and food prices doubled. Everyone is very, very grateful to you and all your supporters.”
Additionally, Save the Dogs and other Animals has committed to having a team stationed at the Ukraine-Romania border for at least another month, to give pet carriers, food, supplies, and other support to refugees every day.