Research: How war affected animal shelters in Ukraine
Save Pets of Ukraine and Kormotech created the first database of animal shelters in Ukraine and counted an amount of cats and dogs in need
510 shelters, sterilization centers and animal volunteers who take care of abandoned animals. 25,799 dogs and 19,473 cats are under the care of shelters and volunteers. These are numbers across Ukraine, recorded during the first census of animal shelters in January 2023.
The research was initiated to measure the scale of the catastrophic impact on animal life caused by the Russian war. As a result of the census, we created a database of organizations and volunteers that take care of abandoned dogs and cats and determined their urgent needs. The research was conducted by Socioinform, the Ukrainian center for sociological research, on the order of Kormotech, the largest Ukrainian producer of food for cats and dogs that founded the national initiative Save Pets of Ukraine in 2022.
The research is based on 14 in-depth interviews with representatives of shelters, sterilization centers and animal volunteers both in the frontline areas and in the rear.
According to the census data, as a result of the war in Ukraine, the number of animals in shelters and in the care of animal volunteers increased rapidly: by 20-30% in rear areas, by 60% in care of animal volunteers, and by 100% or more in shelters in frontline areas. Most of the animals sheltered during a full-scale war are pets abandoned by their owners during evacuation.
At the same time, shelters faced a significant lack of resources. Their main source of aid was donations from Ukrainians and it has declined due to mass migration and falling income levels. TOP needs are the feed, veterinary support and medicine. In winter, there is also a problem of the cost of heating and frequent blackouts (the electricity powers the water supply, heating, and operation of refrigerators).
Among actual problems there are also: decrease of animal adoptions, lack of staff in shelters, expansion of shelters, need to repair or build enclosures. In the frontline areas, there are acute issues: destruction, the potential need to evacuate the shelter, difficulties with the purchase and delivery of feed/medicine.
In solving these problems, shelters and animal volunteers rely on: the public, animal protection organizations and charitable foundations, volunteers and business. This year, foreign organizations more actively joined the support of shelters, in particular, in matters of material support, supplies of petfood and adoption of animals.
Based on the daily feed intake of 300 g for dogs and 250 g for cats, shelters and animal volunteers need:
- 7,740 kg of food for dogs and 4,868 kg - for cats every day;
- 2,825 tons of food for dogs and 1,777 tons for cats every year.
From March 2022 to January 2023, Save Pets of Ukraine provided almost 1,000 tons of food to shelters and animal volunteers, which is a quarter of the national need. 20% of this quantity was provided by the Kormotech company, the rest came from our partners U-Hearts Foundation and foreign donors.
Having the figures of the annual need for food, as well as knowing other problems of shelters, Save Pets of Ukraine plans to attract humanitarian aid even more efficiently and systematically. In particular, the initiative already provides shelters with generators and heaters, as well as vaccines, medicines, cages, carriers for transportation, and more.
In January 2023, Save Pets of Ukraine launched a pilot program of shelter patronage. The ultimate goal of the program is adoption of abandoned animals. Therefore, after 2 months of patronage, the Adopt Pets of Ukraine initiative will find new owners for animals. They are: 57 animals from 4 shelters (Okhtyrka, Truskavets, Kyiv, Horishni Plavni).
Pets in patronage receive food, carriers/cages for transportation, leashes and collars for dogs, vaccine for immunization, chip, passport, preparations for external/internal treatment against parasites, sterilization services at a partner clinic.
After the successful completion of the pilot project, Save Pets of Ukraine plans to scale the patronage program to 50 shelters.
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