Help for animals in Ukraine and Ukrainians fleeing with their companion animals
People fleeing Ukraine with companion animals
On March 24, 2022, the FSVO decided on further temporary relaxations regarding the entry with companion animals from Ukraine:
The risk of bringing rabies into the country is considered low, since a large percentage of companion animals brought into the country have had a rabies vaccination or have not been in contact with wild animals. The FSVO is therefore following the assessment of the Standing Commission on Vaccination in Veterinary Medicine (StIKo Vet) of March 1, 2022.
It is still imperative that all animals are registered upon arrival and that it is recorded whether they have been vaccinated against rabies. Cats and dogs will be vaccinated if they enter without a rabies vaccine or if there is doubt as to their immunization.
Animals with insufficient vaccination against rabies are subject to a 120-day quarantine at home from the date of entry into the EU/Switzerland. However, the competent authorities will determine the specific measures in each individual case. It is therefore important that animal keepers contact the cantonal veterinary authorities as soon as possible.
Animals with sufficient rabies vaccination that cannot be housed with their owners may be placed in private foster homes.
Persons fleeing with companion animals must fill out the form provided on the FSVO website and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proof must be submitted that the animal is chipped (applies to dogs only) and has had a rabies vaccination that was administered more than 120 days ago, as well as proof of an antibody test (titer test).
Many veterinary clinics and certain cantons cover the costs of blood sampling and subsequent chipping. For further information, please contact the responsible cantonal veterinary offices. The costs for the rabies titer test analyses will be covered by the FSVO.
All dogs will be registered with AMICUS, the national database for dogs, after notification to the FSVO or the cantonal veterinary authority. The registration costs will be covered by Identitas AG.übernommen.
The following rules of conduct must be observed with companion animals from Ukraine (see above-mentioned FSVO fact sheet in Englisch and Ukrainian), although the competent cantonal veterinary authority may waive these measures if there is evidence of sufficient rabies immunization:
- Dogs must be kept on a short leash at all times and may not be let off the leash;
- Cats must be kept indoors at all times;
- Animals must not have contact with humans or animals other than those living in the same household;
- Animals must not be left unattended outside;
- The cantonal veterinary service is to be informed immediately if the animal disappears, shows aggressive behavior, bites someone or becomes ill.
Therefore, if a rabies outbreak is suspected, the the owners and/or foster homes must immediately contact the cantonal veterinary authorities. In such a case, the animals may only be cared for by persons vaccinated against rabies. In the canton of Zurich, only employees of the cantonal veterinary authority, the Zurich animal welfare association (Zürcher Tierschutz), and the animal shelter Tierheim Pfötli are suited for this (more informtion here).
Accommodation in Switzerland
Private accommodation for humans and animals from Ukraine
Volunteers based in the Switzerland, Austria or Germany who would like to offer accommodation to Ukrainian refugees and their companion animals can register with the German central pet registry TASSO and indicate how many people and animals they can accommodate.
Liability considerations for private foster homes
Volunteers who would like to provide a foster home for companion animals from Ukraine that cannot be accomodated together with their owners should contact the cantonal authorities (municipality or cantonal veterinary office).
Private foster homes that take in companion animals will generally be considered the keepers of these animals under liability law. An animal keeper (Art. 56 para. 1 of the Swiss Code of Obligations) is basically anyone who has actual control over an animal and therefore also has the power to prevent it from causing damage. It is thereby irrelevant who is the actual owner. If a foster home qualifies as an animal owner and, for example, a biting incident occurs or damage is caused, the foster home can be found liable. Of course, liability depends on the individual case. To protect yourself against unpleasant surprises, it is advisable to take out private liability insurance or to clarify this with your existing insurance company.
Where to donate for the animals left in Ukraine
The Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (the Foundation for the Animal in the Law; TIR) recommends, for example, a donation to the animal welfare organization Four Paws,
which runs a bear sanctuary (Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr) in Ukraine and provides help for stray animals with a team on site. The Susy Utzinger Stiftung für Tierschutz also needs financial help to supply its animal shelters on the Ukrainian-Polish and Ukrainian-Romanian borders and to forward some of the donations to Ukrainian animal shelters and animal welfare organizations in Ukraine that they are familiar with.
In addition, Eurogroup for Animals, a pan-European advocacy organization for animals, lists the following organizations which are helping animals on the ground in Ukraine and need financial aid:
- Deutscher Tierschutzbund - Shelter Tierschutzzentrum Odessa (animal shelter in Odessa)
- Odessa Humanny Pokrok donates 100% of their e-shop revenue to Ukraine
- Open Cages
- Společnost pro zvířata
- GATO – Animal protection and advocacy Lithuania
- World Horse Welfare - British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund