More than 100 shelter dogs that survived starvation in war-torn Ukraine turned away at the Polish border, says an animal rights group

Less than a week after more than 300 dogs were found dead at a shelter near Borodyanka, Ukraine, where they starved for more than a month without food and water, a representative from the Naturewatch Foundation told CBS News that the dogs that survived are now being held due to regulations at the Polish Borders that stipulate that animals can only breed with one owner are rejected.

“These dogs are starved, traumatized and now stuck in a war zone,” said Kate Parker, wildlife crime campaign manager at the Naturewatch Foundation.

Parker told CBS News that shelters in areas like Borodyanka and Bucha had been destroyed. They no longer have access to water or electricity. And there aren’t enough staff in the area to care for these animals when they are turned back, as these people also flee to safety.

Most vets have also fled, and Parker says the only vet clinics that still have supplies are in big cities like Kyiv and Lviv. While some of the Borodyanka dogs could be transported there and examined by a veterinarian, they ultimately could not stay due to lack of space in the clinics.

The 150 dogs survived for weeks without food or water and now require extensive treatment. While this treatment is not currently available in Ukraine, it would be possible in Poland. In fact, Parker tells CBS News that there are vets waiting to help at shelters across the border. However, only a few dogs were admitted.

She says the official state veterinarians stationed on the Korczowa border with Poland are bringing these dogs back to Ukraine because they are street or shelter dogs and there are disease control regulations against these types of animals.

Animals whose owners were killed in the war, like the dog pictured in the tweet below and the many seen in tearful photos, who refuse to leave their dead owners’ sides are also being turned away for the same reason.

Parker said staff and volunteers at the charity are more than willing to comply with any quarantine period Poland deems necessary to prevent the spread of disease. She just hopes that the authorities will make an exception to the rule against shelter dogs because of animal welfare.

Since the beginning of War, millions of Ukrainians have fled their country, and Poland has taken in the most refugees of any country. Poland is also one of a few European countries, including Germany and the Czech Republic, where displaced families can also welcome their pets.

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