AVMF directs more than $500,000 in donations to Ukraine

As the humanitarian crisis in and around Ukraine continues following the Russian invasion, individuals and organizations within the veterinary community and beyond have responded with an outpouring of generosity to help both people and animals. As of early May, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation was channeling more than $500,000 in donations to help those affected by the war.

The Doris Day Animal Foundation donated $100,000 to be directed toward Ukraine disaster relief by the AVMF. Ethos Veterinary Health and People, Pets, and Vets contributed $50,000 each. More than 800 individuals donated more than $135,000. All of the donations were in addition to $100,000 pledged previously by Merck Animal Health, which was matched by the AVMF with $100,000 in preexisting funds.

Woman carrying a large dog (left) and woman holding a cat (right)
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation is channeling donations to help animals and people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Courtesy of the Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association)

“The generosity of the veterinary and animal-welfare communities has never been more evident, or more appreciated,” said Dr. Douglas Kratt, AVMF chairman, in an announcement about the donations. “These significant grants from the Doris Day Animal Foundation, Ethos Veterinary Health and People, Pets and Vets, plus all the individual donors stepping forward to help, will support veterinary professionals in caring for animals in crisis due to the war in Ukraine.”

“When we heard that AVMF was providing food, medical care, disaster relief, and emergency support to animals affected by the Ukrainian crisis, we knew we wanted to help,” said Dr. Bob Bashara, CEO of Doris Day Animal Foundation and the 2018 recipient of the AVMA Animal Welfare Award, in the announcement.

“We are proud to carry on Doris Day’s legacy by donating $100,000 to this crucial humanitarian cause,” Dr. Bashara said, adding that the Doris Day Foundation would continue additional fundraising for Ukrainian relief. “Nothing was closer to Doris’ heart than making this a better world for animals and the people who love them. What better way to honor her on what would have been her 100th birthday (#DorisDay100) than helping those in the most dire need?”

“We are thankful for the AVMF and their efforts aiding the pets of Ukrainian refugees. Ethos is proud to support their important work with this donation,” said Holly Firestine, chief people officer of Ethos Veterinary Health.

Dr. Mike Murphy, founder of People, Pets & Vets, said: “This cause is extremely important to us at PPV. We are all animal lovers and the thought of having to leave your home and your pet behind is unfathomable and heart-wrenching. We know the turmoil that it would cause us and by no means do these pets deserve to be forever separated from their families. We are honored to have had the opportunity to support the efforts of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation with a gift of $50,000.”

The collective donations are providing aid to veterinary and other organizations in the affected areas. Funds are being channeled to groups working on the ground, including the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, Greater Good Charities, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Polish Small Animal Veterinary Association, Street Dog Coalition, and Ukrainian Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Several Ukrainian veterinarians spoke with AVMA News, describing how their lives have been upended by the war. Displaced, separated from their families, and in fear for their lives, they continue to support their fellow citizens and patients as best they can. See the story.

The AVMF continues to raise funds for those who need support. The Foundation asks the veterinary community and others to consider making donations to make a difference in the lives of the people and animals of Ukraine.

A version of this article appears in the June 2022 print issue of JAVMA.