Animal welfare charity raises £35,000 to help pets of Ukrainian refugees

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An animal welfare charity has thanked the British public after raising £35,000 to support the pets of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania.

Dogs, cats and even snakes have featured in images and reports from war-torn Ukraine, with many fleeing the conflict by heading to Poland or Romania – where they can stay with their pets .

Underdog International launched a fundraiser on February 26 – two days after Russia invaded its neighbor – to support non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Romania working with Ukrainian refugees and their pets.

He created an online wishlist that included “pet food, animal and human medical kits and baby diapers” and was inundated with packages within hours.

Amazon Wish List Package (Underdog International/PA)

“We had to freeze Amazon’s wishlist because we literally received 2,000 packages in 48 hours,” chief executive Nadine Kayser told the PA news agency.

Elmtree Pet Hotel in north London has allowed Underdog International to use its child care center to sort parcels.

Elmtree center where Underdog International sorted supplies to send to Romania (Underdog International/PA)

Two vans full of supplies have already been driven to Romania’s borders and the charity plans to send two vans a week for the foreseeable future.

The first arrived at the Iasi border last Friday to help Way of Freedom, a canine NGO, and the second arrived on Wednesday to help Saved by the Vet Romania, which rescues, rehabilitates and rehouses abandoned dogs and cats.

Underdog International has also raised £35,000 to send to its Romanian partners – including Romanian shelter, Save our Paws – and to buy supplies.

The Save our Paws founder and a veterinarian, Emma, ​​have traveled to refugee camps to hand out leaflets written in English and Ukrainian, which say, ‘Don’t abandon your pet, we’re here to help. help you.

Pet food to send to Romania (Underdog International/PA)

“There are phone numbers on it so they can call if their animal is sick, which is quite common as the animals had to be dragged or transported hundreds of miles,” Ms Kayser added.

As refugee camps are busy it’s not ideal for dogs and cats to ‘run around’ so Underdog International sent Emma £3,000 to buy crates to minimize the risk of the animals being separated of their owners.

Ms Kayser said Emma also issued pet passports in Iasi.

“There are thousands and thousands of people crossing” as people use the border to travel to other parts of Europe, Ms Kayser said.

Dog receiving a pet passport (Underdog International/PA)

“Quite often what we see is people, at that point, realizing that they can’t take their pets with them on the plane.

“Emma is able to immediately issue pet passports.

“She microchipped; she does all the legal and medical work necessary to get a European Pet Passport, which means he can actually travel,” she added.

Pet passport issued for a cat (Underdog International/PA)

The 47-year-old from north London, who has three rescue dogs, said: ‘I think anyone who has had an animal knows they are part of your family. It’s so hard to leave them. »

The wishlist has since been reopened, notably with a need for medical equipment and childcare items. Underdog International also accepts donations on its website.

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