We are stunned by the bravery and self-sacrifice of ordinary animal lovers in this ghastly Ukraine war. We must tell you about the selfless dedication of our animal guardian partners who are active in the war-torn Donbas region.
Their story is amazing!
And they desperately need all the help they can get!
Every day, these animal ‘guardians’ of Anzhela Sheveleva’s Animal Guardian Program venture from their homes into the besieged Zaporizhzhia region to feed and rescue desperate animals. Since the start of the terrifying war, we’ve been working closely with Anzhela, a Ukrainian who has been helping the street animals of the poverty-stricken region for the past 12 years.
This is an area where heavy fighting is taking place and most people have fled. Our team can’t get there because the fighting is so heavy, and so we are working with Anzhela to channel funding to her which she then shares with the guardians.
80-year-old pensioners use their meager monthly stipends to feed and care for abandoned animals in the Ukraine war. Disabled people risk their lives every day to feed starving animals. Please, help us help them!
We had no idea who the guardians are, and when we found out -
we were flabbergasted!
These are very old people, pensioners (one is 80!), some are disabled, some were too frail to flee when their area was bombed, and others were forced to stay because of ill-health.
But every day, they brave the bullets and the bombs to feed abandoned animals, and take them into their homes!
Some guardians are currently sharing their homes with up to 100 abandoned pets or unwanted street animals!
Most of the guardians live alone and are pitifully poor, living below the poverty line. Pensions range from just $55 (£42) to $77 (£58). We have been sending some financial support for pet food, but we did not realize that these saintly people are using their meager pension money to help animals, skimping on their own food to do so. We only found out yesterday when we were asked if we could possibly pay for a refrigerator so the cat food would last longer, and the guardians would not have to risk death on the streets so often. Goodness - of course we could! We sent the money, and more, immediately. But then we asked them to detail how much they really needed, and it is a lot more than we have been able to send so far.
With your help, that will change today. These very old, frail people risk their lives every day because they love animals. With your help, we will make sure they get whatever they need to keep up their wonderful, life-saving work.
“It is terribly painful to watch how poor animals die,” one of the guardians told us, abandoned dogs and cats will keep dying without our help right now.
The war in Ukraine is a humanitarian disaster, but it is just as much a disaster for the animals and the poor, sick, disabled people caring for them against all odds. “Many animals they care for are sick and injured, starving, chained up and locked in houses. The surviving abandoned animals in the Donbas region are often simply shot,” Anzhela told us.
By helping the guardians, we help to get as many animals off the streets and out of their chains as possible. Your donations literally save animal lives.
Animals like skeletons and shadows roaming everywhere - elderly women are on their knees begging for help. This is the reality for cats and dogs in Donbas right now.
Some of our guardians live in homes with broken walls, no windows, and only fragments of a roof. There is no electricity, gas, or water. Yet these poor people use every last penny (of the very few they have!) to help the terrified, injured, starving animals. And it gets harder every day.
The donations you have helped us give to Anzhela so far have supported the work of many of her guardians, including:
- Tatyana, a 65-year-old retired woman who feeds 90 to 100 street animals.
- Lyudmila, a disabled pensioner who feeds as many street animals as she can each day.
- Elena, a disabled woman in her 30s who feeds animals on the street. Her house is cracked from heavy shelling, and the barn in which her dogs live has been destroyed.
- Valentina and Irina are pensioners who feed cats and dogs on nearby streets along with Svetlana and Irina, who regularly feed 100 animals each day.
- Anatoly who feeds about 100 abandoned pets.
- Vyacheslav and Inna, two disabled guardians in their 80s, also feed street animals every day.
We desperately need to help the guardians help these animals, and with your support, we can. Every drop of support we can give them will help animals because, without these brave guardians, many would surely be long dead.
The number of abandoned, injured war animals soars every day.
Anzhela and her guardians are afraid that more animals will die in the terrible massacre taking place on the streets and that they will die with them. They are desperate to leave, but they will not abandon their four-legged friends. We can only salute their incredible bravery.
“Looking at Mariupol, Irpin, Bucha and other villages where some people do not come out of the basements at all… They sit under the rubble, and the animals above [them] are dying from shelling, hunger and fear.”
Anzhela takes videos for us whenever she can, but she says that in Donbas, one can be shot for taking photographs on the street. Despite this reign of terror and the daily, debilitating threat to their safety, the guardians go out, without fail, to care for the tragically abandoned dogs and cats of war - we must, MUST, support them!
Please donate right now so we can rush funds to the animal guardians of the Ukraine war. Few people are more worthy of our support right now, and with your help, we can give them the funds they so desperately need for the traumatized, sick, starving animals they love so dearly.
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Network for Animals
P.S. If we could get Anzhela, her guardians and their animals out of Ukraine, we would. We have investigated this but unfortunately, there is simply no safe route in or out of the Zaporizhzhia region. All we can do is provide the support they desperately need - funds to help them feed, care for and protect the animals - so that as bullets fly and bombs explode on the streets, at least some animals can be somewhere safe, with full bellies. Please, help us give the animals this tiny bit of comfort during a nightmare tragedy.
Image credits: Banner: Stoyan Nenov/ Reuters/ The Atlantic, Image 1: ANZHELA SHEVELEVA AND THE ANIMAL GUARDIANS PROJECT, Image 2: REUTERS_Oleg Pereverzev_US News, Image 3: Photo_AFP_india.com, Image 4: ANZHELA SHEVELEVA AND THE ANIMAL GUARDIANS PROJECT, Image 5: DW_ AP_ picture alliance_ Sergei Grits, Image 6: Oleksandr Lapshyn _ Reuters_Sky News