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Transform a Street Dog, a Bay Area nonprofit, is helping rescue hundreds of animals stranded in war-torn Ukraine

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) — For the past month, Mandy Allen has been working tirelessly.

“We had no idea how we were going to do it at all,” she said.

Since 2018, the Pacifica resident has run a nonprofit called Transform a Street Dog, which helps rescue disabled and abandoned Ukrainian animals.

But once the invasion began, their operations were turned upside down and in early March Allen found himself with 35 dogs and 15 staff members caught in the middle of a war zone.

TAKE ACTION: Local and national support for Ukrainians

“We were able to evacuate them to Austria and they are now safe there,” Allen said.

Thanks in part to ABC7 News coverage, the group’s efforts have gone viral.

They teamed up with other animal groups in neighboring European countries and were able to bring not only the first batch of dogs to safety, but hundreds more.

But despite the work they’ve already done, Allen says there’s still a lot to do as war continues to decimate the country.

Allen showed us pictures of the animals the group has helped rescue so far – many of them adopted.

VIDEO: Bay Area nonprofit attempts to rescue volunteers and dogs stranded in Ukraine

She said they are currently trying to save at least 100 more.

“Right now, this weekend, we are again planning an evacuation to Romania and to Poland,” Allen said.

But Allen says she could never do it without the help of her team, some of whom she said are risking their lives to stay in Ukraine and help.

We spoke to one of them hiding in Kyiv via Zoom.

“If I know I can do something for animals and I will get another achievement, then I do it,” said Katya Kurilets.

VIDEO: Why did Russia attack Ukraine? Answers to top Google questions

And despite the challenges they’ve faced, Allen remains determined.

Not just to save as many animals as possible, but also the people she has come to know and love.

“I’ve been doing this for four years and I’ve been friends with all of these people. So when this crisis started, I’m not just going to stop. I have to help them,” Allen said.

You can donate to the group here.

Take a look at the latest updates on the Ukraine-Russia war.

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  • Bay Area nonprofit tries to rescue volunteers and dogs stranded in Ukraine
  • Where is Ukraine? A brief overview of one of the largest and poorest countries in Europe
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