A group of police officers from western Poland took a 760 km kayak trip across the country to raise funds for a shelter that takes care of retired assistance dogs and horses.
Entitled “Operation Warta”, the initiative was organized by Camp Formoza to raise funds and publicize the activities of the “Zakątek Weteranów” (Veterans’ Corner) foundation.
Jarosław Jakubowski from Camp Formoza, and the author of the idea behind the trip, told Polsat News: “Some people are sick and people are fundraising and we got the idea to help the military, but the others.
Established in 2017 by a group of former Wielkopolska and ex-policemen, the shelter takes care of dogs and horses that have been withdrawn from service in various police and military units and cannot be accommodated with their masters on duty after leaving active service.
Located in Gierłatowo on the outskirts of Poznań, the shelter is the first and only shelter in Poland specifically dedicated to the care of former service animals and currently cares for seven horses and 10 dogs.
Departing on September 11 from the village of Poraj in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, the charity trip involved a group of seven soldiers, who paddled 760 km of the 808 km total length of the Warta in teams of two.
Camping in the wild on the way, and exchanging every 4-5 days, they ended on September 26 in the village of Kostrzyn at the mouth of the Oder river.
No specific fundraising goal has been set for “Operation Warta”, which was organized with the main purpose of encouraging people to support the shelter by donating money along the route or by visiting the shelter’s website and general crowdfunding page which has currently raised PLN 37,000 of its PLN 50,000 Goal.
On the crowdfunding page, Zakątek Weteranów asks people to help them build the shelter and help with the upkeep of the animal. They write: “We are building 15 new kennels and adapting a stable with 5 new boxes.
“Please help us, because these animals, after leaving their service, do not receive from the government, no equivalent for food and medical care, let us remember that these animals, on leaving the service are either very old or very sick and charge for food. and veterinary care can be overwhelming.
“Sadly, the four-legged veterans have no pensions and are unnecessary and unwanted.”
It is estimated that there are currently over 2,000 dogs and 60 horses in service in Poland, the majority of which serve in the police force and 10 percent of which are withdrawn from active service each year.
In a recent legal development, at the end of August, the Polish Sejm supported amendments to a Senate bill regulating the status of former service animals and the law was signed by President Andrzej Duda on August 28, 2021.
The law, due to come into force in December, will provide for the first time a pension for retired assistance dogs and horses that will guarantee them financial support and lifelong veterinary care, with current animal owners having priority. to take on retired animals with animals in the care of charities if this is not possible.
Despite this, Grzegorz Chmielewski, director of Zakątek Weteranów told TFN: “Although this is a good step, it is unlikely that this law will be backdated to cover animals that have already been withdrawn before the entry into force of the law, so the animals we care for. “
At the end of August, after a two-year process, the shelter was granted Public Interest Organization (PPO) status, a charitable status that will allow it to receive 1% of personal income tax as a coup de extra inch to his fundraising efforts. .
To learn more about Zakątek Weteranów, visit http://zakatekweteranow.pl/w-obiektywie/