EU’s bureaucratic pet transportation rules causing cats and dogs to be abandoned at border by Ukrainian refugees?

NEWS AND COMMENT: Mercifully, it appears that the EU countries bordering the Ukraine have loosened their pet transportation/immigration requirements to prevent the abandonment of cats and dogs and other animals at the border. But the information is not entirely clear while the new arrangements are put in place. As up to 400,000 refugees are evacuating Ukraine it is highly likely that there will be a large number of companion animals also on the move with these people and it is also likely that there will be many abandoned cats and dogs and other animals which is tragic.

The rules regarding the importation of pets into the EU are complicated. They include the necessity for micro-chipping and a negative blood test for rabies. The pet passport governs transportation of pets within the EU; a dramatically simplified system. The problem is bringing pets into the EU from outside of the EU.

Ukraine is not part of the EU. PETA has been involved, it appears, in facilitating the importation of pets with refugees. Common sense dictates that many Ukrainian refugees, escaping the war, are bringing their companion animals with them.

It’s tragic to see because I’ve seen people carrying cats in their hands. They’ve travelled many miles like this without a cat carrier. This is extremely hazardous for the cat especially bearing in mind the frightening conditions. I would expect many cats to be lost under the circumstances.

Moroccan medical student in Ukraine flees with his two cats without a carrier
Moroccan medical student in Ukraine flees with his two cats without a carrier. Photo: Reuters
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

PETA does report that animals have been left behind at borders because at one stage border control officers were enforcing the usual European Union pet importation requirements. Refugees could not meet these requirements because they had evacuated their homes as a matter of urgency. They were presenting themselves at the border with their companion animals and being forbidden entry because they didn’t have the required paperwork for their animals. That’s tragic.

And it seems that PETA have been involved in facilitating the importation of these refugee animals.

They now report as at February 25, an increasing number of countries bordering Ukraine such as Hungary and Poland and Romania making entry for animals less bureaucratic.


They say that Romania has introduced new regulations. The chief veterinary authority in Bucharest has introduced an exception which allows animals from Ukraine to enter Romania when they are not vaccinated, micro-chipped or identified through a tattoo and even if they have no papers at all as long as a particular form is completed which you can obtain online by clicking on this link.

The form is a Google docs form and it is in Romanian. Anyway, if you are entering Romania from Ukraine as a refugee with your pet, I am told by PETA that you need to complete this form. Refugees entering Romania from Ukraine with a pet need to visit the Sanitary Veterinary Point at the border. The form can be filled out online at the border apparently.

It appears that a maximum five animals are allowed. PETA are receiving conflicting information because they report that sometimes people are being barred from entry with their pets into Romania.


Poland have also waived the usual requirements for entry of cats and dogs into their country. Refugees need to complete transition paperwork for the animals in lieu, I believe, of the usual procedures which as mentioned are complicated.

Refugees passing through Poland to another country need to leave their pets behind in quarantine at a shelter for three weeks. That will not be acceptable to many people I believe. PETA urges people to stick with their animals if at all possible. I would definitely endorse that. It’s going to be so easy to lose your companion animal under these circumstances.


PETA also tells us that Hungary appears to have relaxed the entry requirements for pets. Refugees also need to complete transition papers from Hungary’s National Food Chain Safety Office. There is a webpage and on it is a downloadable form called a “registration page” (click here). I’ve downloaded it and it doesn’t look great. It’s obviously in Hungarian and it looks complicated. You’re going to need to print it out and completed by hand. This may present problems to some people and perhaps some people won’t have the required information. I can see this being a problem.

Let’s wish them well. This is a traumatic time for people and their pets. I read that Germany is forbidding entry of refugees and pets without the usual EU’s bureaucratic procedures being completed. That may be incorrect but it does take a while for the EU to change their policies albeit temporarily. The institutions which administer the EU are inherently bureaucratic.

1 thought on “EU’s bureaucratic pet transportation rules causing cats and dogs to be abandoned at border by Ukrainian refugees?”

  1. And Network for animals is trying to get pet food into Ukraine shelters where many pets have been left. Some people staying are taking in pets left behind and turned loose to fend for themselves. Even soldiers are taking in pets in the trenches.
    Mike I don’t know the story of this picture all I know is it’s at one of the borders and the old woman has been crying while the poor little souls look on. I think they are her dogs and she has to leave them behind. It was posted before they changed the pet rules.


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