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Turku doctor receives animal welfare award for helping Ukrainian families with pets

The doctor and undergraduate veterinary student converted her small clinic to accommodate families and their pets fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Dogs evacuated from a war zone in Ukraine at an animal shelter in the city of Lviv on 6 March. Image: Vitaliy Hrabar / EPA

The 2022 Animal Welfare Achievement of the Year Award has been presented to Ulriika Sundell, a Turku-based doctor and undergraduate veterinary student.

The annual gong is awarded by Animal Welfare Finland (SEY) to a person or organisation that has highlighted animal welfare issues or made a significant contribution to animal welfare needs.

An SEY press release stated that Sundell received the award because of her exemplary and selfless work on behalf of Ukrainian families with pets that had come to Finland after Russia's invasion on 24 February.

In March, Sundell converted the premises of her future veterinary clinic into rooms for families fleeing war with their pets.

"I would like to warmly thank Ulriika Sundell for her exemplary work for animals and people in a difficult and frightening situation. Sundell's action for the people and animals of Ukraine is an excellent example of how an individual citizen can act quickly and competently in a new situation and at the same time help entire families when the authorities were not yet in a position to do so," SEY's Executive Director and veterinarian Kati White said in a statement.

"The importation of animals is strictly regulated due to the risk of disease. In the midst of the crisis, Sundell created an approach that ensured the spread of disease was minimised," White added.

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