Biologist and scientist Vladimir Rybalko created a public shelter from donations and with help of volunteers in 2011. During its existence hundreds of animals have been picked up from the streets of the city and found a new home. Since April 2013 Petrozavodsk shelter has been cooperating with Big Hearts Foundation and successfully launched a joint neutering
program for fostered animals and pets from poor families.. Since the start of the project we have neutered more than 400 cats and dogs. After our visit in November 2014, the local authorities are open to implementing a humane education in local schools as well.
Besides running the shelter, Vladimir has been crucial in gathering data, writing research and animal welfare law development in Russia and Karelia. Just recently a law which he wrote has been accepted in the Karelian Duma and will impact many cities in the region for the better – Petrozavodsk, Suyarvi, Segeza, Pitkarjanta are just a couple of them.. We are proud to continue working closely with Vladimir in the future. One of the plans, if we can find the funds to pay him a minimum wage, is to have him tour around cities in Russia, meet local politicians in other areas, teach know-how to beginners, inexperienced shelters and give hands on advice. The benefits of this cannot be underestimated.