Radio 2

Facebook group seeks host families for refugees with pets

The Vilvoorde (Flemish Brabant) not-for-profit organisation Nine Lives has launched a Facebook group to try and find host families for Ukrainian refugees that have arrived in Belgium with their pets. It is particularly difficult to find host families for refugees that have arrived her with cats, dogs or other fury or feathered family members. The Facebook group also gives those that wish to the opportunity to donate cash, pet food and other material for pets that have fled the war in Ukraine with their owners. 

Normally Nine Lives’ activities are limited to helping feed and care for street cats in Vilvoorde, a town around 10km north of Brussels. However, when the organisation’s founder Linda Moreels received several reports that Ukrainian refugees that had come to Belgium with their pets were encountering difficulties in finding accommodation she decided to act. 

Ms Moreels set up a Facebook Group. “Every day we see images on social media of Ukrainians with a cat, dog or even a rabbit under their arm, on their shoulders or in the best case on a lead or in a travel cage as they cross the border. Their animals are part of their family, and they don’t leave them behind. However, finding accommodation for families with pets is much more difficult and the difficult search for somewhere to stay can prove traumatic.”

Linda Moreels’ Facebook group gives host families that are prepared to welcome refugees that have pets the chance to register. In addition to this Ms Moreels and her organisation are seeking donations of cash and material for the refugees’ pets.

The Facebook group will make it easier for local authorities that are looking for host families to house refugees. “They will be able to find out quickly and in one place where refugees with pets are welcome”.

“Our aim is to spread the word as widely as possible so that host families find their way to the group and so that refugees with pets aren’t left in the cold”, Ms Moreels told VRT News.

Click here for the Facebook group 



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