Travelling from Ukraine with companion animals

The conflict in Ukraine has continued to escalate drastically in recent weeks, with over two million people fleeing the country. During this time, we have seen the kindness and compassion that the citizens of Ukraine have for their companions. Each animal that you see being carried from conflict, represents a family who have loved and cherished them, and no one is to be left behind.

The current regulations for bringing companion animals into the UK are impossible to follow in this state of emergency, so DEFRA have confirmed that entry requirements for companion animals arriving in the UK from Ukraine have now been relaxed.

  • Refugees fleeing Ukraine with pets can arrive at the UK border and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will provide quick approvals and simplified paperwork.
  • The government will cover the costs of any necessary vaccinations, microchipping and quarantine.
  • If a pet has received no rabies vaccination, the maximum stay in quarantine is four months, however this will be considered on a case-by-case basis with much shorter quarantine periods for vaccinated animals.
  • If you are travelling from Ukraine with a companion animal, contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) at [email protected] or call +44 3000 200 301 (option 2) to receive support and guidance.

Putting your pet in quarantine

 If you do have to put your pet in quarantine, you can find out more about this here. The government provide a list of authorised quarantine premises around the country.

How to help

Wild at Heart Foundation are committed to continuously supporting animals and people affected by conflict. We will be supporting several projects bordering Ukraine, to assist in the urgent need for resources, be it food, medical, anything else that will benefit the individuals seeking refuge.

We are only able to do this with the kind and generous donations from our community. If you are able to donate to support our ongoing work, please do so here, or by texting AID, followed by the amount you wish to donate (e.g. AID 15) to 70490.

Please note: The information in this blog post was correct at the time of publishing and may change.

Leishmaniasis: What you need to know

While Leishmaniasis isn’t something you need to worry about living in the UK, it is something you should consider when adopting a dog from overseas. At Wild at Heart Foundation, we will always strive to be as transparent as possible when it comes to all areas of the Foundation, including adoption. Which is why we feel it’s important for our community to understand the risk factors.

What is Leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis is a tropical disease transmitted to dogs via female sand flies only. The sand fly is active between dusk and dawn and is common in all Mediterranean countries. Whilst it is most common in the Mediterranean, the disease is also now present in Bulgaria and Romania too.  When an infected female sand fly bites a dog, the dog is in danger of contracting the disease unless it is protected by an insect repellent collar or approved spot-on preparation.

To find out more about Leishmaniasis, including symptoms and treatment, please download our Canine Leishmaniasis fact sheet here.

I thought you test all of your dogs for diseases before travelling?

Before travelling, all of our dogs are tested for a variety of diseases depending on their country of origin, including Leishmaniasis. With Leishmaniasis, it’s possible for a dog to test negative prior to travelling, and then to start showing signs of the disease months or even years later. This is due to the nature of the disease and its ability to lay dormant and to be asymptomatic, particularly in puppies.

As a precaution, we do have a policy in place which means we will not transport dogs to the UK who test positive for the disease in their country of origin.

Why do we ask our adopters to take responsibility for the risk factor?

Although Leishmaniasis cannot currently be cured, it can be very successfully treated enabling the dog to live a happy, normal and healthy life. But as commonly the case with any kind of veterinary care, treatment can be expensive – especially if you don’t have insurance.

Currently, there are few insurance providers who will cover treatment for Leishmaniasis due to its capacity to lay dormant, be asymptomatic, combined with its potential ability to return a false negative test result.

Because of this, we will always strongly advise that our adopters take due diligence when choosing an insurance policy and to consider all factors carefully to ensure that you have made the best choice for you and your dog. Any medical diagnosis, including Leishmaniasis, is the responsibility of the adopter and not that of the Foundation’s. Any medical cost incurred after adoption are the responsibility of the adopter.

Heroes of Lebanon

As you read this, there are approximately 35,000 stray dogs living in Lebanon. The demand for adoption is virtually non-existent, essentially meaning that these dogs have nowhere to go and no one to help them.

In 2019, we visited Lebanon to assess the situation and gain understanding from local rescuers and organisations to assess how best we could support the work on the ground. Devastatingly, we found the level of cruelty and abuse that the animals face in Lebanon to be amongst the worst we had ever seen. Dogs are poisoned, shot, beaten, used for target practice and deliberately run over. Cruelty that is hard to even contemplate for us, but reality for them.

Why is the situation so bad in Lebanon?

Decades of miseducation around animal welfare has led to a culture of cruelty, neglect and often deeply shocking violence. On top of this, Lebanon has been facing an economic crisis, the worst since 1975-90. As people in the country struggle, so do the animals. Many people have had to turn to non-profit organisations for help to continue to care for their pets. The situation is dire.

What are we doing to help?

Wild at Heart Foundation have made it our mission to support organisations on the ground who are fighting to end the suffering of street dogs in Lebanon. Since our visit in 2019, we have been working alongside local rescuers and ethical organisations to educate, sterilise and rescue. But our work in Lebanon is only just beginning.

Introducing our heroes

If you’ve ever watched a hospital drama, you’ll know that blood donation can mean the difference between life and death. Well, it’s no different for dogs.

One of our partner shelters in Lebanon, Mount Lebanon, is are helping to care for three very inspirational blood donor dogs, who between them, have saved over 100 lives in need. After their incredible work, we believe that these three dogs deserve the chance to retire and enjoy the rest of their lives in a loving home. After all they have given, it’s time to give back.

As part of our Heroes of Lebanon campaign, we will be finding loving homes for these remarkable dogs. We will also be rehoming two blood donor survivors, Charlie and Foxy who are both victims of abandonment and abuse and saved by these three donor dogs.

View their profiles here

Whilst there is a happy ending for these five dogs, there are still thousands of dogs in Lebanon waiting for their turn at a second chance. As a further part of our campaign, we will be raising much needed funds to support organisations like Mount Lebanon so they can continue to carry out the amazing work they are doing to help more dogs. But it’s a long journey ahead, and one we hope you will join us on.

Through rescue, sterilisation and education, we believe we can create long-term, meaningful change.

Donate to our Lebanon fund now

Or text LEBANON to 70450 to give £5 

Texts cost £5 + standard message rate, UK networks only
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