Irish grandad to drive over 2,500km to bring animal aid to Ukrainian border

Irish grandad to drive over 2,500km to bring animal aid to Ukrainian border

Sarah Slater

An Irish grandfather-of-two who runs a dog rescue charity plans to drive 2,570 kilometres from his home to bring aid to the Polish/Ukrainian border for thousands of displaced animals.

Andy Cullen (45), who lives in Culahill on the Laois/Kilkenny border and has run Husky Rescue Ireland for the past eight years, is hoping to bring two large vans full of animal supplies to the border town of Sonak on Sunday.

He, along with rescue volunteer Darren Bracken, will be the first known Irish animal charity to travel out with aid to the Ukrainian border.


Mr Cullen said that after seeing broadcast images and photographs of the Ukrainian people fleeing across the borders of neighbouring countries without leaving their animals behind, he knew he had to help them.

“Over the weekend seeing thousands and thousands of men, women and children fleeing their homes into Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia I saw that so many of them had brought their pets with them. They thankfully didn’t leave them behind and they were being applauded for doing that all over social media.

“The animals were not being forgotten about and they shouldn’t be. It’s estimated by international observers that four million people in Ukraine will be leaving their country, so even one per cent of that number of animals being displaced is thousands. They need aid too and that’s what’s spurring me on to help. All animals require aid,” said Mr Cullen.

24-hour drive

Originally from Clondalkin in Dublin, he will board a ferry with his fellow volunteer Mr Bracken to Cherbourg in France, and then begin the mammoth drive which will take them at least 24 hours.


Mr Cullen said that his partner Tara, his son and his daughter have encouraged him to travel with the donations, as have several other national animal rescue centres such as the Galway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA), PAWS Animal Rescue in Tipperary, Cara Rescue Dogs and Dogs Trust Ireland and UK.

“My family have been very supportive of what Darren and I are facing. They know I would regret not trying to help. I’m not afraid going out there as I want to do my bit. We want to show those fleeing Ukraine that we are here for them and are very appreciative that they took their animals with them,” said Mr Cullen.

Andy Cullen (45) is planning to bring two large vans full of animal supplies to the border town of Sonak on Sunday

It will cost the charity €1,500 in diesel alone to bring one van full of supplies to the Polish/Ukrainian border. Mr Cullen explained that both men will meet with other aid charities when they arrive in Sonak to ensure the supplies reach where they are most needed.

Mr Cullen said: “We have made contact with other charities dealing with donations so they will get to where they should be going. Since launching the fundraising drive on Monday, people are coming out of the woodwork to help.


“We need the following items: dry food for dogs, cats and small animals; first aid items for them; pet bowls; leads; cat litter; blankets of all kinds and basic toiletries for humans.”

Mr Cullen has set up four drop-off points in Dublin at Unit A, Ballymount Cross Industrial Estate, Unit A, Maxi-Zoo shop, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Fleetwood Decorating Centre, Douglas and Togher, Curriers-bog both in Cork and Portlaoise Plaza Service Station, Co Laois.

Donations can be made until Saturday evening at all drop-off points.