Ukraine: Animal Shelter

Global Voices Online
Thursday, August 30, 2007

On August 19, Ukrainian journalist Tanya Kremen paid a visit to an animal shelter located near Hostomel, a small town just outside Kyiv. Below are her impressions and thoughts (RUS), which she has posted on her blog at

Yesterday, I was at the animal shelter near Hostomel. It wasn't really an accident that brought me there: the reason was I'd read at the forum that the cats over there had no more food left, and since I love cats a lot, my friend and I decided to take some food there.

We spent a long time looking for the shelter - because there were no road signs pointing to where to turn to reach it [...].

The shelter is: a few hundred dogs, about a hundred cats and one woman, Asya Vilgelmovna, who is doing an incredible amount if work and then some more. There's a lack of everything: time, money, food, people willing to help. She's got plans, big and good: step by step, gradually, to turn the shelter into an animal aid center, where they'd be treated and transitioned into a new life. But for now, she keeps all these creatures on her own pension and on donations - and the animals, I should say, look okay, even though they really miss interaction with people, especially the cats. A veterinarian from an agrarian university visits the shelter: he neuters the animals and provides treatment to those that need it, teaching his students at the same time.

The main problem, however, is that it's very hard to have an animal adopted - we aren't into getting ourselves mutts, we aren't into adopting shelter animals, [...], unfortunately. Even though all the cats there are very beautiful and sweet, and there are wonderful, sweetest creatures among the dogs there as well.

As for the [missing] road sign, Asya Vilgelmovna had taken it down, in an attempt to stop the flow of people wishing to transfer an animal they've gotten sick of to her: a few times, elderly German shepherds were brought in, because they were too weak to guard the house and that's why had to be shot; puppies and other creatures were left anonymously, and recently, someone threw a sack with 17 kittens in it right over the fence.

I keep thinking of how to help the shelter and I'm not having any ideas - because even if some business/party/person decides to become a permanent sponsor, it's not going to solve the problem: we need to look for homes for the animals, and for someone to want to take them in means that this someone should be willing to adopt just a good dog, not necessarily a well-bred, expensive one, and what has to be done for this someone to be willing that I don't know...

Here are a few comments:


Our people die like dogs, children are being given up to orphanages... Are the compassionate animal lovers thinking about this?

Tanya Kremen

Aha, I'm of the opinion that these problems are of the same origin.


[...] Yes, this has to be talked about again and again, so that it gradually got attached to the communal consciousness. But our people are barbarians; look at what's going on in all the forests around Kyiv (some 50 km around it, because it gets "cleaner" after that). The money-grabbing bastards are building palaces and then take their construction garbage (as well as their food leftovers) to the forest, throwing it all away a couple of hundred meters away from their own "mansions." That is, they are building their mansions for sake of this very forest - which they then destroy. If any of you have doubts, I can take you for a ride and show you. Construction garbage, cans that used to contain chemicals, car sceletons... Twenty years ago, in Irpen (30 km from Kyiv), mushrooms and wild strawberries used to grow right in the city (where there was still some forest, there was actually a resort there, for people with TB, etc.)... I myself saw deers a few times there, right inside the city limits (some 15 years ago). Now, it's scary to walk into that forest - the new masters have eliminated the city's oak and fir trees, untouchable in the past, and have littered the forest for centuries with the garbage left after the construction of their pretentious mansions. Please believe me, it's not the old ladies from the one-storied houses who have done it... [...]

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