Burgess Hill man travels to Ukraine and Poland to help animals in need

A Burgess Hill man has spent almost two months helping animals in need in both Ukraine and Poland.

Myles Fitzpatrick, 25, of St Mary’s Road, said he has a love of animals and decided to make the journey at the beginning of March.

“I’ve got seven dogs at home so I’m quite versed in dog behaviour,” he said, adding that he is now based at a medical facility belonging to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) just on the border in Poland.

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“When people are travelling with their animals we can give them supplies,” Myles said.

Myles Fitzpatrick from Burgess Hill is helping animals in Poland and Ukraine with IFAW.

He said vets check the animals as their owners cross the border to escape the war, and said IFAW feeds and rehydrates them too, even housing them while their owners look for new homes. The facility is also in contact with shelters in Ukraine and distributes supplies to them.

Myles, who lives in Mid Sussex with his wife, said he has been allowed time away from his job as a restaurant manager at Third Avenue in Hove.

He said he first visited Ukraine on his own from March 11-23 and met IFAW on his way in, asking them if they needed help.

“I ended up travelling around Ukraine, finding out what shelters need what supplies, and I gave all this information back to them,” said Myles.

Afterwards, IFAW offered him a job as a responder and he accepted.

Myles said going into Ukraine on a train from Poland was tense because soldiers had to search volunteers’ belongings to make sure they were there with good intentions.

“It was quite a shock,” said Myles, but he said he agreed with the precautions.

“I arrived in Lviv and in the morning I awoke to bomb sirens,” he said, adding that his brother messaged him to say it was probably a missile attack on the airport.

Myles said he has been at the IFAW centre in Poland for over a week and in that time he has helped cats, dogs, snakes, a hedgehog, a parrot and a turtle. He also reunited a collie with its owner.

“The fact that we’ve helped out so much in that time makes me feel like its all worth it,” he said.

Myles said IFAW is planning to go into Ukraine in late May and he hopes to return to Mid Sussex for week beforehand.

Myles’ father Zachary, 52, who is the owner of Zachary Sweeps & Sons in Haywards Heath, said he is proud of his son.

“I think he’s amazing and I love him with all my heart” he said.

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