Humanitarian mission transports families; cares for pets left behind
ARA (Animal Rescue Algarve) is still on the ‘frontline’ of humanitarian efforts going on along the Polish/ Ukraine border.
In spite of all the footage showing refugees fleeing with their pets, the truth is thousands of animals have had to be ‘left behind’.
Very often their owners are told ‘you can get on this bus, but you can’t bring your cats/ dogs or other animals’.
There is no choice – and this is why so many animal-focused NGOs are also struggling to help in the chaos of the worst conflict in Europe for decades.
ARA’s latest ‘post’ from the warzone says its volunteers are “clocking up kilometers on horrendous roads, full of traffic”, undertaking long journeys relocating people and their animals.
The team most recently carried one family (two women, a child and a man, plus their dog) to “new futures in France” – a journey of over 40 hours.
But the conditions of animals stacked up to try and get into Poland are so bad (“without any level of cleanliness/ hygiene or health”) that some of the shelter’s volunteers made the decision to cross the border into Ukraine, to try and help speed up the process.
As days go by – and more and more citizens are displaced (only today, for example, people in the areas around Kharkiv, Lugansk and Donetsk have been told to evacuate immediately) – shelters for animals on the Polish side of the border have been completely filled.
This has seen ARA volunteers driving long distances, to find shelters further afield with space.
No one knows when these animals’ owners will be coming back.
No one can be sure which animal even has an owner any more.
ARA’s mission set out for Poland in the middle of last month. It has already received exposure in Expresso – and is working in collaboration with a number of foreign animal-based charities, including Fundacja ADA, DIOZ and Schronisko Pegasus, from Poland as well as a German delegation from PETA.
To follow progress, click here and here