Nearly 7 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. At least 30 percent of Ukrainians were forced to leave behind their pets, which results in millions of domesticated animals without homes wandering the streets of Ukraine alone and vulnerable to bomb and missile attacks.
Ukrainian Animals War Relief (ARF) announced today a relief fund to:
- Provide a technology platform powered by Microsoft’s not-for-profit social initiative to get food, medicine and supplies to Ukrainian animal shelters and groups. The platform will:
- Catalog abandoned dogs and cats to get them back to their families or adopted into a loving home.
- Provide visibility to shelters/group homes, drivers and warehouses and Allow shelters to request an inventory of food, medicine and supplies.
- Permit drivers to verify that a delivery has been made to shelters and get a Paypal transaction for fuel, lodging and food.
- Let drivers verify the shelter’s number of animals to reduce corruption and fraud.
- Create an NFT of each of the abandoned dogs and cats to catalog Ukraine’s animals and raise funds for food, medicine and supplies.
- Run mobile spay, neuter and vaccination M*A*S*H clinics to prevent the problem from getting worse.
- Build the nation’s most comprehensive database of abandoned Ukrainian pets and reduce the chaos that volunteers helping more than 1,000 animal shelters and group homes in Ukraine are facing today.
Founded by Seattle native and Dot Com serial tech entrepreneur Dan Fine, proceeds from the relief fund will go towards ARF’s first major Ukraine initiative in early July 2022. As many local and international animal nonprofits abandon Ukrainian animals due to the human risk of warfare, ARF will deliver 18 tons of pet food in cooperation with DogsnHomes Rescue and M*A*S*H style medical clinics providing flea treatment, vaccination and spay and neuter care to shelters nationwide.
“We are proud supporters and partners of ARF with boots on the ground in Ukraine,” said Gary Baxter, Co-founder of the UK nonprofit DogsnHomes Rescue, who has been delivering aid for dogs and cats since the war began.
The initiative will start in two locations. One will be in a village outside of Kyiv capturing animals and treating them. The other will be at a bombed shelter north of Kyiv with 3,000 animals. The Sirius Shelter in Ukraine took in 200 new animals just this week.
“You’re probably asking, ‘How could someone leave their animal behind?'” said Fine.
“Imagine missiles dropping around you and making a beeline with your children for the bus or train station. Airplanes are grounded and roads and bridges destroyed. Once there, you’re told to leave your luggage to make more room for people and pets are absolutely not allowed. You have no choice but to either let your dog or cat loose at the station or try to find a nearby shelter that is open, overcrowded and understaffed. We were wondering what we could do to help these innocent animals, so we put our heads together and formulated ARF.”
“We are proud supporters of ARF’s mission at Microsoft,” said Justin Spelhaug, Vice President and Global Lead of Tech for Social Impact. “As Ukrainian pet owners endure heartbreaking decisions, ARF is providing real relief and compassion in the form of food, medical care and shelter to these innocent animals. We are honored to be ARF’s technology partner and are happy to provide nonprofit grant support.”
“When Russia invaded, the Ukrainian government stopped the spay and neuter program to go fight the war,” said Fine. “There are millions of animals wandering loose around Ukraine or stuffed into shelters that were designed for a fraction of the size they are currently handling. Here’s the problem: if one pair of dogs or cats have a litter of six and those litters have a litter, in six years, 67,000 animals will be produced alone. This will have catastrophic consequences.”
ARF will start with mobile M*A*S*H style clinics offering spay and neuter care in Kyiv and then roll out additional units to treat 1,000 animals a month.
Fine and ARF advocate for stricter animal legislation in Ukraine and globally during times of war.
“Russian soldiers are committing war crimes against civilians and animals,” said Olga Orda, Hypemachine founder and ARF’s Ukrainian Liaison. “Why can they walk away with no consequences when they commit crimes against innocent animals whereas they wouldn’t be able to get away with this when committing war crimes against humans? ARF is standing up for the lives and dignity of these cherished family pets.”
“We spent 8000 years domesticating our pets and now, as we choose between leaving our child or our dog, we need to leave them behind to face landmines and bullets on war-ravaged streets,” said Fine. “We are at fault here, and we need to take responsibility for their lives. That’s what ARF is here for.”