At the end of next week I’m off to the Ukraine with FOUR PAWS in order to raise awareness of the terrible plight of stray dogs and abused bears.
FOUR PAWS showed me photos of dogs that had been rounded up and killed earlier this year ahead of the big EUROS football tournament in Ukraine and I was horrified.
I’m so pleased that the Ukraine Government has seen sense and teamed up with FOUR PAWS to neuter the stray animals. This is humane. It would have been a tragedy if all those poor animals had been killed.
But it’s not only dogs that need help though, last week FOUR PAWS rescued a baby bear illegally sold by a zoo in Ukraine so I’m really looking forward to meeting her and working with FOUR PAWS.
According to news reports, last year authorities in Ukraine ordered thousands of stray dogs to be rounded up so the streets would look spic and span for visiting foreign teams and supporters attending EURO 2012. News reports stated that, rather than being rehomed, thousands of animals were killed.
Animal charity FOUR PAWS has since been in talks with the Ukrainian government, and after lengthy negotiations FOUR PAWS’ founder signed an agreement with Ukraine’s Environmental Minister. The agreement provides a humane solution to the stray dog problem.
FOUR PAWS is operating mobile animal ambulances around Ukraine to neuter and vaccinate the stray dogs. The dogs are then released and will no longer be able to breed. This is the only solution to regulate the stray dog population. Eleven animal rescue vehicles from FOUR PAWS have already arrived in Ukraine.
(Above) Nastia the rescued brown bear cub in new enclosure besides her mother’s enclousure in Lutsk Zoopark
Together with experts from Ukraine universities, FOUR PAWS teams are undertaking intense training of veterinarians. Neutering of dogs in Kiev, including in shelters, and logistical preparations for activities to be undertaken in various cities across the country, including Lviv and Zaporizhia have begun.
Sadly there are also many cases of bears being abused in Ukraine. In May 2012 a four-month old female bear cub was brutally snatched from her mother in Lutsk Zoo.
Animal traders bought her so that she could pose in photographs for tourists for a small fee. Throughout her kidnapping ordeal, the bear cub screamed continuously, whilst her mother ran panic stricken to and fro in her cage.
FOUR PAWS has now rescued the little bear. FOUR PAWS is working with the Lutsk city authorities as well as the responsible ministry in Kiev to identify the best future options for the little cub; it’s hoped a transfer to a new home will take place in the next two months.