Ukrainian refugees fleeing the outbreak of war in their country are bringing their beloved pets with them, as neighboring countries Romania, Poland and Hungary ease restrictions on cross-border movement of animals.
According to the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), peacetime restrictions on the cross-border transport of pets require that cats and dogs be vaccinated and microchipped and have a negative blood test for rabies.
However, a rabies antibody test by blood test alone can take days or even weeks.
Three Eastern European countries receiving the bulk of fleeing Ukrainians – Romania, Poland and Hungary – make exceptions for pets transported safely alongside their owners.
In Romania, Bucharest’s chief veterinary authority has introduced an emergency exemption, suspending vaccination, microchipping and documentation requirements – instead requiring owners to complete a single form for their fluffy friends.
Neighboring countries Romania, Poland and Hungary have eased entry requirements for pets escorted by Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. Pictured: A woman holds a dog in her coat while waiting for a bus outside a train station in Lviv
Two young Ukrainian women travel to Tiszabecs, Hungary, after crossing the border to safety with a canine companion
Pictured: A Moroccan medical student flees Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, taking his cats Stella and Santa with him as he crosses Poland
Abdullah Elkobbi, 21, said: “I love this country. I’m so sad that it was destroyed’ as he and his feline companions made their way to Ukraine’s border with Poland
However, a limit of five pets per person is in place in Romania, and PETA Germany says it has received reports of pet owners being refused entry with their canine and feline companions, despite claims official.
Polish and Hungarian authorities have followed suit by liberalizing the rules governing the entry of pets into their countries, temporarily removing strict vaccination, microchipping and documentation requirements and replacing them with a unique transition” to be completed by the participants.
Abdullah Elkobbi, 21, from Morocco, was studying medicine at a university in Ukraine, although he was forced to join the thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the country as the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine heats up .
The 21-year-old doctor-to-be was accompanied by his two cats, Stella and Santa, as he queued to reach the Shehyni border crossing into Poland.
Mr Elkobbi told Reuters: “I love this country”. I am so sad that it is destroyed.
A Ukrainian refugee – among 200,000 forced out of the country following the Russian invasion – carries a small dog under her arm as she arrives in Siret, Romania
A small dog accompanies a Ukrainian refugee as they both arrive at the border crossing in Siret, Romania today
PETA Germany is coordinating the delivery of 20,000 kg of dog and cat food to Ukraine, along with blankets, for pet owners and their animal companions still trapped inside the war zone.
The UK branch of PETA wrote a letter to George Eustice – the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – on February 25, asking for rules to be relaxed in the UK for Ukrainian refugees. entering with pets.
The letter said: “Border countries including Hungary, Poland and Romania are easing their restrictions to make the pet admissions process less bureaucratic, and we urge the UK to follow suit.
“A blood test for rabies antibodies, which would be required to get these animals across borders in accordance with all legal regulations, can take days or even weeks.
“Many vulnerable animals are therefore left without their keepers or other caring people, which will lead to terrifying and prolonged deaths.
“Please stand up for the animals in these exceptional circumstances and ensure they can be brought to safety. They must also be offered sanctuary and are essential in comforting those on the run and traumatized in these horrific times.
“The British people would be devastated if they were forced to abandon their beloved animal family members, and we must ensure that Ukrainians do not have to make this devastating choice either.”