Following an appeal for help on social media by Rishabh Kaushik, an Indian student refusing to leave war-hit Ukraine without his companion dog Malibu, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India sent an urgent letter to Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala requesting that he issue an urgent no-objection certificate and ensure safe transport for both the dog and Kaushik to India. PETA India requested that the minister ease the rules on veterinary documentation for dogs, cats, and other companion animals accompanying their human families who are seeking safe passage from Ukraine to India. Kaushik, who studies at the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics in eastern Ukraine, says he has reached out to the Indian government’s Animal Quarantine and Certification Services (AQCS) in Delhi and the Indian embassy in Ukraine, but to no avail.
“Separating animal companions from their guardians is another tragedy for those desperately fleeing Ukraine, and it will only result in more heartbreak and unnecessary loss of life,” says PETA India Chief Executive Officer and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “While Rishabh stands by his moral responsibility to protect his companion, it is now on the Indian government to ensure that both he and Malibu reach India quickly and safely.”
Countries bordering Ukraine – including Hungary, Poland, and Romania – are loosening their restrictions to make it easier for animal companions to enter other states. PETA entities are also working to encourage other EU countries and the UK to follow suit.
In its letter, PETA India pointed out that Kaushik rescued Malibu, sparing him a horrible life on the streets, where many animals die of starvation or are injured, abused, or hit by vehicles. Many more are left to languish at animal shelters due to a lack of caring homes.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” – encourages those with the time, patience, love, and resources to bring a companion dog into their home to adopt an animal from the streets or an animal shelter.