Ukrainian dogs moved to safe IFAW-funded shelter

300 dogs have been moved from a shelter in a dangerous setting to one in a much safer environment (pictured) in Gorlovka, Ukraine.The only animal rescue shelter in war-torn Gorlovka, Ukraine had been struggling to maintain operations and basic safety in the face of shelling that destroyed a wall and injured a dog, violent encounters with soldiers, and a devastating fire that damaged the facility and led to a dog’s death.

Thanks to the purchase of land and a building made possible by funds provided by an IFAW donor, we have found an alternative location for the nearly 300 resident dogs. Recently, they were transported two-by-two for safety reasons from the old location to the new one. There are still a lot of repairs and some construction work to be done, but for the time being the dogs are in a much safer environment than before.

We had struggled with finding a way that we could move the shelter dogs away from the violence. How far away would be far enough? What safety truly exists in and around Gorlovka when all we hear about are the failed ceasefire agreements and daily attacks? Is anywhere safe?

Just finding land with an existing structure no matter the condition (a roof was her only requirement!) was challenging. The process of trying to purchase property in a volatile environment also proved difficult.

One IFAW supporter who shares our passion for helping the innocent animal victims in Gorlovka offered to cover the full price needed to purchase the new property. We are so grateful that she helped make this dream come true, we could not have made this happen otherwise.

Looking at the new property you may only see the very old building in need of every kind of repair you can imagine inside, outside, up and down. But to the shelter staff they only saw immense potential and a bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Donation drives funded perimeter fencing and construction of enclosures and dog houses.

Winter was approaching and only after the new site was secure and animal-friendly could volunteers start bringing over the 300 dogs.

Fortunately, everyone pulled together and made it happen.

The other day, I received word from the Gorlovka Shelter that all dogs have been safely transported.

We are very optimistic that the new, safer location will also make the shelter more accessible to potential adopters and volunteers. For these 300 dogs their dreams may be more peaceful now that they are safer; but their best dreams are of a forever home of their own.

Thank you for helping IFAW bring those dreams one step closer to a reality.


This project is being carried out with the support of the Fund Hugo International for Respect and Dignity in the relationship with Animals, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation.  

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Senior Program Advisor
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