News from Ukraine: Displaced pets turned away from Polish border and returned to war zone | World | News
Dogs and cats that no longer have owners are being sent back to the war zone due to immigration restrictions and fears of potential health risks.
Kate Parker, wildlife crime campaign manager for the Naturewatch Foundation which works on the Polish border, told Express.co.uk: “Poland has veterinary inspections allocated by what would be our Defra, and they refuse entry to animals, under certain circumstances.
“Animals that come from shelters that have been bombed and are being sent back to Ukraine. Some of the refugees waited in line for days before being sent back.”
Vets working on the border are only allowing refugees to bring five animals per person, many of whom have stayed despite Poland having ‘shelters and plenty of space and money’ to put the animals in quarantine until they know they are safe from the risk of rabies.
Ms Parker, who has also helped help refugees find accommodation, added: ‘Animals should be allowed in and quarantined for 30 days, but they just won’t let them in. They just refuse.’ .
She recalled an incident with refugees who had traveled from the southern coastal port of Odessa, which was hit by heavy Russian shelling.
She said: “We were at one of the borders where there was a Polish vet and there was a girl with dogs that had traveled for hours from Odessa. The vet thought they were being used for breeding, but This was not the case.
“We told her ‘there is no war in Odessa’ and sent her back to Ukraine. They should have let her pass and quarantined the dogs but that’s not something they will do “.
“These people had to get back into the van with dogs, which had been there for two days, and drive back across the border to Ukraine, even though they had been driving for days from Odessa. Many have no home to return to. . “.
She said situations like this “happen multiple times a day.”
Bucha has come under heavy fire from Russian troops with footage from the suburban town showing corpses with their hands tied behind their backs – apparently shot at point-blank range.
READ MORE: Russian TV claims Ukraine is using ‘fake corpses’ to slam Moscow
“Unlike any previous conflict in Europe, the Russian invasion of Ukraine results in the largest movement of people and animals in history.”
However, speaking of the UK government, Mr Dyer said they “have acted considerably under public pressure to change the import and quarantine rules for dogs and cats entering with refugees. We rarely see any action as fast in my experience.”
It comes after animal campaign groups urged the government to change tough immigration laws to allow fleeing Ukrainians to bring their pets into the country.
Dominic was able to reach an agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which will no longer impose restrictions on pets entering the country with refugees. The government department will also cover the costs if pets need to be vaccinated against rabies and placed in quarantine kennels, while the RSPCA is considering providing additional kennel facilities if needed.
A Defra spokesperson told Express.co.uk: ‘We don’t want people fleeing Ukraine to be delayed entering the UK because they are bringing their pets with them. We have implemented a simplified process. We have introduced a new rapid rabies blood test and are looking at other ways to increase capacity and further streamline the process.