Videos/Photos: Two Years In, Thousands of Animals Rescued in Ukraine

For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

As today marks the two-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, more than 15,000 animals impacted by the war have been saved by PETA Germany, PETA-supported Animal Rescue Kharkiv (ARK), and other rescue organizations. These are the ones who got away, but of course, many did not, like the mare whose foot was blown off in a rocket attack. At times facing intense artillery fire and even drone attacks, as shown in the video footage, rescue workers have risked their lives to save animals who are terrified, sick, injured, or starving and in desperate need of help—including a mother dog and her eight newborn puppies, who needed safe passage out of the conflict zone. Ukrainian soldiers, who often are animals’ only hope of getting to safety, had first discovered the heavily pregnant dog near the front lines and brought her to their bunker, where she gave birth, and one of our teams came to rescue her. Videos and photos are here.  

The dedicated teams there are providing upward of 40 tons of food per month to cats, dogs, horses, donkeys, and other animals; offering free spay/neuter surgeries to 150 animals every month; and helping maintain refuges for animals in Kharkiv. We have cat and dog shelters across the borders for recuperation and adoption.  

Here’s just a sampling of the rescue stories:  

  • When PETA Germany and ARK met Atya the dog, she was suffering on the street, cowering in fear in a puddle of her own blood. Her shoulder had been blown to bits by a barrage of bullets. The team helped rush her to a clinic, where a veterinarian was able to remove the shrapnel from her wounds and save her shoulder. Although she has healed physically, she needs emotional support to help overcome the strain of her ordeal. Today, she’s at a partner center in Budapest that helps animals recover from trauma. 
  • After hearing about the plight of Evgenia—along with her 3-year-old twins and their cat and dog companions—who had thought escape from Bucha with her whole family was impossible, PETA Germany prepared to help them. After Russian soldiers left Kyiv and the streets were cleared of mines and the dead bodies of civilians, the rescue team made the harrowing journey through the war-scarred country to reach Evgenia and her family. Following almost 30 hours on the road, Evgenia, the twins, and the other animals arrived safely in Germany. 
  • A German shepherd named Lada was found with fleas jumping around her face and maggots eating away at her damaged, infected skin, and she couldn’t walk. After being asked by locals to help her, ARK brought Lada to its clinic, where the team shaved her and cleaned her up, gave her painkillers and anti-inflammation treatments for her skin infection, and treated her for the bone spurs in her spine that were preventing her from walking. She has recovered and is now able to walk on her own. 
  • Victory was a painfully thin dog who could barely stand and whose hair was coming out in clumps. Spider-like mites bore into her pores, and red mange left her in agony. The team found her in an abandoned village in Ukraine. Today, thanks to around-the-clock care at the PETA-funded clinic in Kharkiv, Victory lives up to her name. Her coat is thick and shiny, and her once-inflamed skin is now healthy. 
  • The home of Hamlet and his guardian was hit by a missile and turned to rubble. The dog’s legs, including one of his elbow joints, had been struck by flying shrapnel. PETA’s Global Compassion Fund–supported team and ARK transported Hamlet to a clinic in Kharkiv for emergency surgery, where the deeply embedded shrapnel was removed and his infected wounds were cleaned. The surgery was a success, and brave Hamlet, having regained the native hue of resolution, was soon wagging his tail around the clinic, cuddling with the staff, and walking once again. 
  • Rescuers worked urgently—under the threat of heavy shelling—to successfully get 40 terrified dogs and cats out of the embattled Kherson region, which faced 25 direct aerial bombs in the village of Vesele in one day.  
  • With animals’ food supply in Ukraine running perilously low, a team that produces and transports food for starving animals managed to skirt a trucker blockade at the Polish border with Ukraine to successfully deliver the vital rations, at great risk to their own safety. 
  • This astounding video offers a glimpse into lifesaving operations at ARK’s veterinary clinic, which treats 100 to 130 injured or sick animals daily, including a dog featured in the clip who had shrapnel removed from his leg. 

large mother dog rescue ukraine imageRescued mother and puppies found beneath rubble. Credit: PETA 

Evgenia and her dog rescued from Bucha. Credit: PETA

ARK rescuer holding victory

Victory before and after. Credit: PETA 

“Animals don’t wage wars, but they’re victims of them, left to suffer without food, water, or veterinary attention for grievous injuries unless someone who cares comes to their aid,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges everyone to consider the animals impacted by conflicts and the heroes putting their own lives at risk to help them.”   

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