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Animal Lovers Donate to Help Ukrainian Pets In Crisis (Photos)

Community donates over $100,000 to help Ukrainian pets impacted by the war

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photos: Helen Woodward Animal Center

One week, ago Helen Woodward Animal Center put out a call for support for the Ukrainian people and their animals. In a heartwarming display of compassion and kindness, American friends not only answered that call but surpassed the $50,000 requested match. The Center is proud to announce that today over $117,000 in financial support is being gifted to support Ukrainian pets in crisis.


Three weeks ago, Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the largest conventional military attack on a sovereign state in Europe since World War II. Millions of Ukrainian citizens have fled their homes with only their most precious possessions, including their beloved pets. Unfortunately, the safe-passage of furry friends is only one of many challenges Ukrainian animal-lovers are battling.  Some pets have been lost in the scramble to escape the war-torn country; shelter volunteers have been killed in their attempts to care for the remaining shelter pets; food, money, and warmth are in desperate short supply; and Ukrainian shelters are facing destruction and violence.

Last week, Helen Woodward Animal Center pledged $50,000 to the Ukrainian animal welfare efforts with a heartfelt plea to local animal-lovers to match the pledge for a total of $100,000 in assistance.

“The response has been outstanding,” says Helen Woodward Animal Center President and CEO Mike Arms.  “It’s something we see time and time again.  Those who connect with and understand the love of an animal, also connect with and understand other animal lovers, no matter the distance or language barriers.  They want to help.”

In just one week, the request to match the Center’s $50,000 pledge surpassed $67,000 with more donations continuing to come in. Academy Award winning actress Diane Keaton shared Helen Woodward Animal Center’s campaign on social media to her over two million followers. Social media-famous kitten Smush also shared the campaign with her over 688K followers.

Currently, Helen Woodward Animal Center is in touch with both Tallinn City Government Chief Specialist Hellika Landsmann from the Estonia Animal Welfare Society and General Secretary TOZ Danuta Mikusz-Oslislo from the Polish Society for The Protection of Animals.  Both are communicating with associates from UAnimals, a non-profit Ukrainian animal rights organization, working valiantly to help struggling animal welfare groups trapped in war-torn areas, as well as the pets of the Ukrainian refugees who are arriving in Poland, Latvia, and Estonia with little more than a single suitcase and their furry friends.  The funds raised through Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Ukrainian Animal Crisis Fund is being distributed amongst these three groups to assist with relief efforts and to ensure that loving pets are provided food, warmth and medical attention. 



 (All photos provided by the Helen Woodward Animal Center; Photo credits: UAnimals, Reuters, Gul Tuysuz CNN, Shelter PIF)

To help or for more information, go to: You can also call 858-756-4117, or visit Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe. 

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