Hundreds of dogs in a Ukrainian animal shelter were found dead from apparent starvation by the animal charity organization UAnimals.
The organization discovered the abandoned animals in Borodyanka, a town outside Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. U Animals volunteers claim the dogs died after Russian troops left them trapped in cages for nearly a month.
“Domesticated animals are so completely dependent on humans for food, care and protection that they are extremely vulnerable in times of human conflict,” Elisabeth Key, media manager for International Animal Rescue, said in a statement to USA TODAY. “If they lose their protectors, they are left defenseless, exposed to the violence and aggression of war and at high risk of losing their lives.”
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UAnimals first indicated in a Facebook post that there may have been m300 dogs found dead, though that number was adjusted later once volunteers were able to provide a more accurate count. The post also included pictures of dogs’ corpses.
“The animals were not killed by bombings and bombings. They died a terrible death without food and water, locked in their cells,” the Facebook post reads.
Volunteer Asta Kvitnitskaya shared in a later Facebook post that the death count actually was 222. Kvitnitskaya’s Facebook page was provided to USA TODAY by UAnimals.
“Previously, we submitted data received in operational mode, which somewhat changed and did not match. It’s only because we received them quickly and from a lot of people and didn’t have time for a thorough calculation,” reads Kvitnitskaya’s post.
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The dogs found still alive in the Ukraine shelter are being cared for in other countries, according to Key.
“Facilities are being built by volunteers to house and care for them until they can be found new homes,” Key said.