Vet crosses into Ukraine to rescue animals trapped by Russian invasion

Polish vet Jakub Kotowicz hopes the pets will be be rehomed across Europe

Emily Atkinson
Monday 21 March 2022 16:33
<p>Vet Jakub Kotowicz, based in Przemysl, Poland on the Ukraine /Poland border with the cats, dogs and even a goat that he and his team rescued from inside war torn Ukraine</p>

Vet Jakub Kotowicz, based in Przemysl, Poland on the Ukraine /Poland border with the cats, dogs and even a goat that he and his team rescued from inside war torn Ukraine

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.

Vet Jakub Kotowicz with Sasha the pygmy goat kid

“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 ADA Foundation also has a private veterinary clinic

“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.

In the past fortnight Jakub has rescued around 200 cats and 60 dogs from Lviv, in three convoys

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.”

Volunteers have travelled from all over the world to help Jakub’s rescue effort

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.

To donate, click here.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in