← back

Two Years of Full-Scale War: Ukraine’s Efforts to Rescue Pets

As the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine approaches, it brings to mind two years of brutal, active hostilities in the country, resulting in numerous horrific events, casualties, and shattered lives. Alongside the affected people, their beloved pets often find themselves in dire situations.

According to research conducted by the Save Pets of Ukraine initiative to quantify the dreadful impact of the Russian war on the lives of animals, as of January 2023, 25,799 dogs and 19,473 cats are under the care of shelters and volunteers who actively help Ukrainian pets.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, the number of animals in shelters and under the care of animal volunteers has increased sharply:

  • by 60% among animal volunteers;
  • by 20-30% in shelters in rear areas;
  • by 100% in shelters in frontline areas.

These pets are evacuated, treated for injuries, cared for, fed, and efforts are made to find them new homes (i.e. to help Ukrainian pets).

Introduction to the Ukrainian Animal Rescue Organization

The U-Hearts Foundation has supported the Save Pets of Ukraine initiative since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, reports that they actively help pet shelters in Ukraine. In two years of full-scale war, they have helped deliver over 1,700 tons of food to shelters and animal volunteers. They’ve also provided over 30,000 medicines and vaccines. Among the essential supplies were cages, carriers, blankets, and soft bedding. The U-Hearts team firmly believes that helping pets in Ukraine by bringing food, making animal donations, and so on is our joint mission today.

One of the separate projects was the heating of shelters in winter. They managed to provide over 300 warm dog houses, 45 heaters, and generators as a form of helping pets in Ukraine.


“All of this became possible thanks to the support of our international donors, as well as people who support our activities with animal donations. It’s incredible!” shares Yuriy Tokarski, CEO of the foundation.

“During our work, we have met incredible people! These are brave individuals who often risk their lives to save others and regard helping pets in Ukraine as their key purpose,” says Anzhelika Babii, a communications specialist at the foundation. “The stories of these people are amazing! Stanislav Frank, who doesn’t leave his city of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region, which is under enemy shelling every day, in order to save animals. Olha Zaitseva, who, with a team of volunteers, evacuates pets from cities, towns, and villages in the Donetsk region, including Avdiivka, Ocheretyne, Stepove, and Chasiv Yar. During one of the evacuations, Olha lost friends. Or Regina from Odesa, who alone takes care of 104 dogs, 11 puppies, 65 cats, 6 kittens, 3 horses, and a small goat!”


Among all the challenges, the most emotional for the foundation’s team was the day of the explosion of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on June 6, 2023, which was recognized as an act of ecocide committed by the forces of the Russian Federation. On the same day, the foundation supported 13 volunteer groups from different parts of Ukraine who went to rescue and evacuate animals, helping save over 1,500 dogs and cats!

Future Plans As For Helping Pets in Ukraine

Among the foundation’s plans for the next year, in addition to continuing to help pet shelters in Ukraine by providing the basic needs of pets, are actively participating in sterilization programs and promoting the adoption of pets from shelters!
The defense of Ukraine is still ongoing, and accordingly, thousands of innocent lives, including pets, are under threat every day in different regions of the country. They can’t save themselves from war, but your love and sincere desire to help pet shelters in Ukraine can!

How You Can Help Ukrainian Pets:

U-Hearts. The nonprofit Ukrainian animal rescue organization works to improve the “living conditions of abandoned pets in Eastern Europe” by providing food, medical care, shelter, and adoption. Animal donations also play a significant role. Finally, you can assist U-Hearts (i.e. help Ukrainian pets) here.

Posted by:

Project manager at U-Hearts Foundation

Follow our news

    This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.