Under UK restrictions, Ukrainian migrants might be separated from their pets for months.
Yevheniia Soldatenko with her miniature schnauzer. ‘The whole story is overshadowed by the fact that our dog needs to be quarantined,’ she says. Photograph: Handout
Because of the country's complicated laws for bringing pets into the country, Ukrainian immigrants seeking asylum in the UK risk being separated from their beloved pets.
According to pet travel specialists PBS Pet Travel, more than half of the more than 2.5 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled their nation have brought their dogs with them.
There are fears that some pets will have to be put down if owners are unable to travel with them to nations such as the United Kingdom.
While the government is speeding up the process of bringing Ukrainian refugees' pets to the UK and paying for their vaccination, quarantining, and microchipping, the animals could still spend up to four months in confinement.
Many Ukrainians are trying to get the blood tests they require for pets who have had anti-rabies vaccinations in order to verify that they have developed rabies antibodies as a result of the war, as laboratories are either closed or not processing animal blood testing
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, announced on Friday that he had arranged for a family of Ukrainian refugees to be accepted, including a six-year-old boy, his mother, grandmother — and the family dog, Max. He'll also help them with the dog's vaccination status, as the family forgot to bring the proper paperwork with them when they fled Ukraine.
Through their mutual love and ownership of miniature schnauzer dogs, Yevheniia Soldatenko and her nine-year-old son Yaroslav were able to find a UK sponsor. Jackie Thom met the couple through a Ukrainian Facebook group for owners of miniature schnauzer dogs and volunteered to support them.
I travelled more than 2,500 kilometers in three days with my nine-year-old son and our small schnauzer, Soldatenko added.We crossed Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland on our way to Poland. We are now in Szczecin, where volunteers assisted us in finding lodging. Poles are wonderful people that are always willing to help.
We applied for the visa on March 18th and are waiting for it to be processed. The fact that our dog must be confined when we get in the United Kingdom, however, casts a pall over the entire affair. This dog reminds me of a youngster. All of my business and travel plans are based on its requirements. She cares deeply about us, and we care deeply about her. My son is quite concerned about having to leave her. I'm not sure she'll be able to get over the split.
I felt passionately that I should host someone with a dog, Thom, from Lincolnshire, said. Due to the fighting, the only laboratory in Ukraine that does blood testing after pets have received rabies vaccinations to prove they have antibodies is now closed. Currently, the laboratories in Poland, where many people have fled, are not processing pet blood tests. Pets cannot be booked into quarantine facilities until their visa applications have been completed.
Anyone entering the nation is in for a nightmare. I was unable to give up my dogs. I have four miniature schnauzers, three of which are rescue dogs, so I understand how the quarantine procedure must feel for Ukrainians who are separated from their pets. Our shared passion for little schnauzers drew us together. We send each other images of our dogs sunbathing, as is customary for schnauzers.
Robin Jax, a singer, has arrived in the United Kingdom with his Ukrainian wife, Miroslava, and his wheelchair-bound mother-in-law, Hanna Tkachenko. However, quarantine procedures have kept their pet cat Peter in Poland. The family is concerned that the cat will be apart from them for an extended period of time.
When we crossed the border, Poland disregarded certain regulations for non-EU pets, Jax explained. Before the conflict, Peter the cat was fully vaccinated in Kyiv. We contacted Heathrow Airport for assistance, and they informed us that Ukraine was not a 'listed country' for the purposes of Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs]. I can't image what being in quarantine for months will do to Peter, who is 11 years old.
The cat is currently residing in Poland with the family's hosts. I'm hoping the cat can hang in there. We know he's in good hands, but it's a tense and trying time.
We have put in place a new streamlined method for persons transporting their dogs from Ukraine, a Defra official said. We will cover the costs of the Animal and Plant Health Agency's rapid approvals and appropriate quarantine arrangements.