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B.C. man heading to Ukraine to help spay and neuter abandoned pets


When Russia invaded Ukraine in March of 2022, retired West Vancouver tech executive Daniel Fine discussed the plight of the Ukrainian people with his neighbour Alex Orda at a local dog park.

Orda had moved his family to B.C. from Ukraine decades ago, but many of his friends and family remained in the war-torn country, and were telling him stories of abandoned dogs and cats wandering the streets of bombed-out cities.

“Some animals were left behind because maybe the owners were killed or injured, and they lost opportunity to care for their animals,” said Orda. “Obviously these are stories I hear from my friends.”

When Fine heard these stories, he decided he had to act. In April 2022, he went to Ukraine to help locals round up and care for abandoned pets. He returned two more times last year, and along with Orda, founded a non-profit “Ukraine War Animals Relief Fund,” or UWARF.

“So we go to these local villages that have recently been re-liberated, they’re mostly destroyed, you drive down the street and there are packs and dogs and cats living everywhere,” said Fine. “And they’re all friendly, they’re pets and they want to kiss your face. And you look at them and think, what life are they having now? So we are trying to give them a little bit of hope, but the big thing is we have to stop the growth of the population.”

UWARF estimates there are 400,000 abandoned pets in Ukraine that need to be spayed and neutered in order to control the population.

“So what we have done is really started to do this en masse. We are going back in August, we are going to do 2,250 in just one month,” said Fine, who added the non-profit is hiring local veterinarians who are out of work and want to help.

For the August mission, UWARF has partnered with Humane Society International.

“What we love about this is Humane Society does this all over the world. We just started this last year, so they’re giving us lots of great guidance and advice and also some funds,” said Fine.

There is also a Canadian fundraising effort that’s about halfway to its goal of $135,000 for the August trip.

“I believe if people hear more about our mission and our goals then definitely the support will be increasing,” said Orda.

As Fine prepares to leave for Ukraine on August 9th, he’s anxious to be heading back to the war zone, but is eager to help.

“One of the things that is hardest is coming home. Because I feel guilty,” said Fine. “I come back and I see this beautiful country we live in and how peaceful things are, and we don’t have the same concerns that Ukraine has. So I do feel guilty when I come back. But I just love Canada.” Top Stories

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