Ukraine among top ten countries with largest number of stray animals – Koshak
Ukraine is among the top ten countries with the largest number of stray animals, around 140,000 animals need volunteers' help today, according to the co-founder of the Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide (UPAW), Oksana Koshak has said..
"At the beginning of the war, the number of requests was approximately for 50,000 animals, and, as far as I remember, it was only about those [animals] having guardians and whom people were taking care of. We do not know the exact number of those [animals] who do not receive care at all. Today, the number of requests for help is 140,000 animals," she said during a roundtable talk on the subject: "Protection of pets’ rights in Ukraine. Problems of lack of unified system during war" hosted by the press center of the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency on Wednesday.
Koshak said that 84% of the animals caught by a municipal animal control enterprise in Lviv had been abandoned by their owners, 11% of the animals had been lost, and only 5% were hereditary homeless, which means that they were born in the street.
The expert also said although the government has not made a decision on the creation of a pet register, Lviv has already got such a municipal system.
According to Koshak, 40% of pet owners, who have registered their animals, were either unaware of the importance of regular rabies vaccination or have never vaccinated their pets at all. Therefore, she said, the registration of pets in the state register and vaccination should be mandatory.
Veterinary doctor Yaroslav Tyschenko, who is also the Managing Partner at the Alden-Vet chain of veterinary clinics, also said that new cases of rabies have been reported from all over Ukraine – from Lviv to Dnipropetrovsk regions. More than 2,000 appeals from people injured by animals with rabies were received in Kharkiv region this year, which is a quarter more than last year.
According to Tyschenko, currently 10%-15% cases of rabies have been registered although the scale of the problem is much larger.
"The lack of the established culture of a conscious owner who regularly makes necessary vaccination and, respectively, the lack of government control have created the conditions for Ukraine to receive the status of a troubled country and rank first in Europe in terms of rabies incidence among animals," he said.
There are around 5 million animals in Ukraine, approximately 20% of whom are homeless. And the dynamics of a growth in their number, following the full-scale invasion, has been increasing exponentially. According to UAnimals, over the first year of the war alone, the number of cats and dogs in shelters increased by 60%. Evacuation of animals from the areas of hostilities is carried out every day, however, the shelters lack places for them.