© 2022 WEKU
Central and Eastern Kentucky's Radio News Leader
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

More than 300 dogs die of hunger and thirst in a Ukraine shelter

Shelter animals are also suffering the consequences of the war in Ukraine. This week, volunteers at a shelter outside Kyiv, the capital, found more than 250 malnourished dogs that had survived weeks without food or water but also more than 300 that had starved to death.
Rodrigo Abd
/
AP
Shelter animals are also suffering the consequences of the war in Ukraine. This week, volunteers at a shelter outside Kyiv, the capital, found more than 250 malnourished dogs that had survived weeks without food or water but also more than 300 that had starved to death.

More than 300 dogs were discovered dead in a Ukrainian animal shelter after weeks without food or water, an animal charity said on Tuesday.

Volunteers with UAnimals, who returned to the Borodyanka shelter outside Kyiv, the capital, said the dogs were forced to starve to death by Russian troops who had left them trapped in cages for nearly a month amid constant bombings.

"With the shelter increasingly inaccessible due to the conflict, sadly many of the dogs perished," Wendy Higgins, director of international media for Humane Society International, told NPR in an email.

Higgins said the organization is working with local groups and volunteers, including UAnimals, to relocate the surviving animals.

"Now that Russian troops have withdrawn from the area and the shelter has finally become accessible by volunteers, the Ukraine Small Animal Veterinary Association has been able to confirm that 253 dogs were found alive," she added.

Of those, 25 were taken in critical condition to nearby veterinary clinics, where they seem to be improving and are now understood to be in a stable condition, according to Higgins.

"The remaining dogs are being taken out of the shelter to safety, and foster homes in countries neighbouring Ukraine are being sought for them," Higgins explained.

UAnimals posted several gruesome images on Facebook showing the emaciated canines lying lifeless in small enclosures. In some photos, they appear to be embracing each other; in others, they are piled in a mound with their malnourished limbs akimbo.

The pictures have appalled Facebook users, who have called it all an "inexcusable tragedy" that is "too disgusting for words."

"Animals do not start war. They have no choice. What a terrible way to die," commented one user.

Others are blaming the people who run the shelter, saying they shouldn't have left the dogs locked inside in the first place.

Higgins offered a bright spot of news: A Ukrainian cat will soon be reunited with its family in Arkansas, after the family managed to escape the carnage of the occupation.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
WEKU depends on support from those who view and listen to our content. There's no paywall here. Please support WEKU with your donation.