Pets join the Ukraine evacuation: Refugees with cats and dogs flee Putin's advancing army after being granted permission to take animals without vet certification.
A woman holds a dog inside her coat as she waits for a bus outside a train station in Lviv (Getty Images)
As neighboring countries Romania, Poland, and Hungary remove restrictions on cross-border movement of animals, Ukrainian refugees fleeing the onset of conflict in their country are bringing their cherished pets with them.
Peacetime limitations for carrying pets across borders, according to animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA), necessitate that cats and dogs be vaccinated, microchipped, and have a negative rabies blood test.
A rabies antibody test using blood analysis, on the other hand, can take days or even weeks.
Romania, Poland, and Hungary, the three Eastern European countries hosting the majority of the fleeing Ukrainians, are making allowances for dogs being transported to safety alongside their owners.
The main veterinary authority in Bucharest has implemented an emergency exemption, suspending vaccination, microchipping, and documentation requirements in favor of owners filling out a single form for their fluffy companions.
In Romania, however, there is a restriction of five pets per person, and despite official claims, PETA Germany has received instances of pet owners being denied entry with their canine and feline companions.
Polish and Hungarian authorities have followed suit, temporarily removing onerous vaccination, microchipping, and documentation requirements in favor of a single 'transition form' to be filled out by immigrants.
Abdullah Elkobbi, a Moroccan student studying medicine at a Ukrainian university, has been forced to join the tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the country as the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine intensifies.
As he waited in line to enter the Polish border at Shehyni, the 21-year-old future doctor was accompanied by his two cats, Stella and Santa.
I love this country, Mr Elkobbi told Reuters. It makes me so sad that it will be demolished.
PETA Germany is organising the supply of 20,000 kg of dog and cat food, as well as blankets, to Ukraine for pet owners and their animal friends stuck inside the conflict zone.
On February 25, the UK branch of PETA wrote to George Eustice, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, requesting that limits for Ukrainian refugees entering the UK with pets be lifted.
Border nations such as Hungary, Poland, and Romania are easing their rules to make the procedure of entering companion animals less cumbersome, and we urge the United Kingdom to follow suit, the letter stated.
A rabies antibody test by blood analysis, which is required for these animals to cross the border in accordance with all legal standards, can take days or even weeks.
As a result, many fragile animals are left behind without guardians or other loving individuals, resulting in horrible and prolonged deaths.
Please speak up for animals in these desperate situations and guarantee that they can be rescued. They, too, must be given refuge, and they are critical in providing consolation to fleeing, traumatized people during these dreadful times.
The people of the United Kingdom would be distraught if they were forced to abandon their beloved animal family members, and we must guarantee that Ukrainians are not forced to do the same.