A Polish vet has recused around 200 cats, 60 dogs and even a pygmy goat from war torn Ukraine, including one canine with a bullet lodged in its spine.
Jakub Kotowicz, 32, crossed the border from Poland last week as part of three convoys - setting off from Przemyśl at midday on Tuesday and returning at 3am. He said he has not slept for five days.
Among the animals Mr Kotowicz has rescued so far are a pygmy goat with diseased legs, a Sphinx cat wearing a knitted jumper, and a Chihuahua mother and puppy pair.
He plans to keep the two-month-old pygmy goat, Sasha, who was saved from Lviv in western Ukraine.
The goat is currently sharing a bed with the two Chihuahuas and will be cared for by the vets at the ADA Foundation - an animal rescue charity founded by Mr Kotowicz when he was 17.
Mr Kotowicz said: “All the cats are very stressed, the journey from Lviv is one day and we crossed the border with a diplomatic pass but the queue from Ukraine was very long.
“We are preparing the animals for an adoption process.
“We bought two cars and paid £12,500 for one.
“Sometimes the animals which are in very poor condition will be with us for two or three months.
He said that a number of people had approached the rescue asking if they had managed to find their pets. So far, two cats have been reunited with their owners, Mr Kotowicz added.
He continued: “Sasha came to us from the first convoy to Lviv, an old woman asked us to have her. She has diseased legs.
“The next convoy might be next week, because it is very dangerous.
“There were three cars and eight people in this one.
“We came back about 2am or 3am on Tuesday and had to check all the animals in four to six hours, then go to sleep for two hours.”
The charity hopes to buy another ambulance and convert a pizza shop into safe place for rescued animals to be kept.
According to Mr Kotowicz, a number of the animals were so severely injured they had to be put down, but a rehabilitation process means many will be re-homed across Europe.
His non-profit organisation is reliant on donations and Nick Tadd, 55, who left Guilford, Surrey, for Poland to help with the animal rescue mission, has so far raised £60,000 for the foundation.
Mr Tadd, a wildlife photographer, arrived in the country two weeks ago and has no plans to return to Guildford.
He said: “I’m just a helping hand really. I don’t fear it, it isn’t sort of bravado.
“If we raise enough funds we’re going to buy another ambulance.”
He said the charity was asking people in the UK to consider adopting the Polish pets to make more room for the traumatised animals being rescued from Ukraine.
The ADA Foundation has a dedicated facility for rehoming dogs, where canines can become accustomed to furniture, while being monitored by prospective owners.
It is also organising a wheelchair for a dog named Vira, 7, who has a bullet lodged in its spine.
It said volunteers have arrived in Poland to offer their help from as far away as Denmark, Canada, and America.
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