Are You Prepared For Ukrainian Pets In Your Jurisdiction?

Written by NACA

March 21, 2022

As the chaos and unrest in Ukraine continues, we anticipate more families with pets will flee to safety here in the United States. Just yesterday, we learned a European airline flight landed in a major US city with a Ukrainian refugee and their dog. Airline personnel were unaware of which agency to contact, or the protocols involved with bringing a Ukrainian pet into the country. Ukraine is one of the countries listed as High Risk for Rabies by the Center for Disease Control.

To help your agency plan for potential refugees and their pets entering your community, the National Animal Care & Control Association, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, and the University of Wisconsin Shelter Medicine Program, are recommending Animal Care and Control agencies across the country prepare for the possibility of refugee families with pets seeking emergency entry into the United States traveling through international airports or borders.

Your agency might be required to help pets owned by Ukrainian refugees in this situation, most traveling from a European country that might have relaxed pet vaccination requirements. As animal welfare professionals we strive to provide service and safety to the public and animals. By being prepared with local, state, and federal procedures to assist with transportation, animal housing, supplies, and veterinary care, your agency can lessen the impact on families and help keep pets with their people.


  • Review and update your Preparedness Plan
  • Connect with local government agencies within your area to stay informed of protocol changes
  • Contact Customs with the international airport(s) in your jurisdiction as well as Border Patrol to ensure relationships are established, policies are clear, and contact information is accurate
  • Please know that the CDC is making exceptions to the current ban on a case by case basis for family pets and individuals can reach out to for information on allowing their dog into the US.
  • Ask your shelter veterinarian to attend National Shelter Rounds on Tuesday, March 22 at 4 pm Eastern/ 3 pm Central/ 1 pm Pacific to learn more about how veterinarians should respond

Together, we can help ease the suffering and stress of Ukrainian refugees seeking sanctuary in the United States by helping them keep their pets and out of shelters. 

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