77-year-old Ukrainian woman risks her life to save an animal shelter

Since the war in Ukraine began, many people have gone to great lengths to protect and care for animals caught in the crossfire. Whether risking their lives to literally take their pets with them as they flee to safety or staying behind to care for animals who weren’t so lucky to make it, unsung heroes across Ukraine have stepped in in times of dire need. . It has been no different for the 77-year-old. Asia Serpinskawho made the difficult decision to risk the potential danger to his own life for the sake of his animal shelter in Hostomel, a city about 22 miles northwest of Kyiv.

When the invasion began, Serpinska housed around 600 dogs and nearly 100 cats in her shelter. And when people began to flee, she also collected several abandoned animals from the zoo. As the Russian forces continued to advance, soon encircling the township on all sides as they attempted to seize the town, Serpinska still held her ground. Then, when she saw the enemy approaching, the brave woman ran into the shelter as fast as she could to open the enclosures so the vulnerable animals would not get trapped inside. And even in the midst of the bombing, she and a few loyal employees stayed behind to take care of them.

“The first thought that crossed my mind was that I had to run to the shelter”, Serpinska share, recounting his brave response. “I was consciously going to war. My people were here, my dogs were here.”

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If all that wasn’t enough, Serpinska also took responsibility for a local private zoo after witnessing the establishment burn down. Their owners had previously fled, fearing for their own lives and probably not knowing how they could protect themselves and the animals they housed. But her departure left the poor creatures abandoned and unable to fend for themselves. When Serpinska and her team intervened, they had to fight through the smoke to rescue as many animals as they could. Among the wildlife, there were also many exotic creatures, including turtles and peacocks. However, there was one lion that survived the fire that rescuers were unable to take with them.

“For five weeks, we went there under shelling and bullets to feed that lion, because they had locked him in a cage and we didn’t have the keys,” Serpinska. relates. At one point, Russian soldiers planted a land mine near the lion’s cage as a threat against Serpinska and her team, but she struggled to negotiate with them to prevent them from killing the innocent animal. However, even when, against her best efforts, the soldiers detonated the mine, the lion somehow managed to survive.

On another occasion, the Russian soldiers even came straight to the shelter and proceeded to lock Serpinska and her team in a room, telling them that they were planting a landmine on the door that would kill everyone if they opened it. After they were rescued, they soon realized that it had probably been an empty threat to scare them into submission. However, that did not eliminate the fear and anguish they experienced.

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Those were just a few of the many dangerous and potentially deadly encounters Serpinska and her team had with Russian troops while occupying the city, including a tragic interaction in which her beloved dog Gina was killed. But even in the midst of anguish and fear, they kept going. And now that Hostomel is back under Ukrainian control, Serpinska is working to rebuild her shelter while she recovers from war damage.

Much of the city is still deserted, with many of its buildings burned and destroyed. However, the brave 77-year-old continues to look to the future with hope. Serspinska has already started collecting donations to keep the shelter running, and she continues to find homes for the animals she worked so hard to protect as the city comes back to life. Against all odds, she managed to cross over to the other side as she did her best to provide a safe and caring environment for vulnerable creatures in need.

Surprisingly, despite the very harrowing times they endured, the shelter animals appear to be happy and healthy. And for Serpinska, that is the most important thing. “It doesn’t matter who you protect: children, people, animals, nature. The most important thing is responsibility”, the heroic woman insist. “Rescuing animals so that they remain human.”

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A 77-year-old Ukrainian woman named Asya Serpinska risked her life to stay and care for more than 700 animals at her animal shelter.

Ukrainian woman risks her life to save an animal shelter

The shelter includes about 600 dogs, more than 100 cats, and even a lion abandoned at a local zoo.

Ukrainian woman risks her life to save an animal shelter

Driven by her love of animals, she endured many dangerous moments.

Ukrainian woman risks her life to save an animal shelter

“It doesn’t matter who you protect: children, people, animals, nature. The most important thing is responsibility”, insists the heroic woman. “Rescuing animals so that they remain human.”

Ukrainian woman risks her life to save an animal shelter

Watch this video to learn more about her incredible story.

Gostomel Animal Shelter: Website | Instagram | Facebook
h/t: [iHeartDogs]

All images via Gostomel Animal Shelter.

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