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Time for round table. Standards for keeping animals in shelter

Gostomel animal shelter has existed for 22 years. During this time thousands and thousands of animals in need passed through our shelter.

All volunteers and guests of the shelter say in one voice: “It is so nice here!” There are also those who say: “Why should I come to you if everything is fine here?” Or we receive calls like: “It is said that everything is so good in the shelter, can you accommodate our pet?”

We do not have permanent sponsors, we do not participate in grants, and state aid is enough for two-three months only.

We exist only because of contributions from those who care. That’s why the next month is always risky for us whilst most other shelters exist not only with the help of Ukrainian but also international sponsors.

Therefore we have a question, why are other shelters not as good as ours? Why do we hear from people: “Oh, I have already been to one shelter and I am afraid to come to others. It is painful to look at the condition of the animals…” After seeing other shelters people breathe a sigh of relief and even go home smiling.

Our animals live by the principle “Like at home”. We have tasty and nourishing food, enormous enclosures, warm booths, warm rooms for cats and half board with meat and premium pet food.

Why do other shelters turn themselves into prisons for animals?

Throughout 2021 we tried to reach the Kyiv City State Administration and managers of big shelters in Kyiv and its region hoping to bring all parties around the table.

The purpose of the round table should be:

1. Optimization of keeping of dogs and cats in shelters and the most effective use of budget funds allocated by the Kyiv City State Administration and other donors.

2. Joint and deeply integrated work on the implementation of Kyiv city program on pursuit of European standards of animal treatment.

Operation of the shelter should be subordinated to one strategic goal - finding a family for an animal.

Over many years of a shelters’ operation the simple “collection” of stray dogs and cats in the streets followed by a lifetime placement in a shelter has shown its inefficiency and futility. Within a short period of time a shelter is filled up to the maximum and ceases to perform its functions of regular acceptance of animals from the streets. From a temporary place the shelter becomes a boarding house. No shelter in Europe, USA or any other country works like that.

Thus the principle of work “street - shelter - family” should become the basis of activity for all shelters. And the shelter itself to perform the function of foster care, veterinary care, socialization and finding a family for an animal. Shelters are obliged to create housing conditions that will meet such standards of keeping dogs and cats, below which the future owners of the animals have no right to fall.

The life of animals in the shelter should not be based on residual, “compassionate” principles, but on the contrary, the life of animals should be exemplary. Stray dogs and cats have suffered enough in the streets, they deserve the best life possible when ending up in a shelter. And it is more correct to say in the temporary home.

Twice we sent a letter to the Kyiv City State Administration. Letters were also sent to all possible deputy directors and managers. We also sent the letter to the Municipal Enterprise “Kyiv City Hospital of Veterinary Medicine” which is one of the executors of the Kyiv City Program for Regulation of the Number of Homeless Animals. There is no answer to date.

We have come to the conclusion that most shelters and the Kyiv City State Administration are not ready for changes to improve the lives of animals.

Therefore, we call on all zoo protectionists and shelters to help animals in real ways but not for the record. To take real steps towards the European attitude to the animals not in social networks but in real deeds and not to distort the very concept of an animal shelter.


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