Killing Stray Dogs in Sochi Continues

by Mary Haight on February 10, 2014

killing stray dogsEven after repeated offers of help by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) dating as far back as a year ago, the killing of stray dogs in Sochi continues. Estimates on this extermination campaign run between 2000 and 7000 dogs depending on the timeframe used and who you talk to. “IFAW…offered to help the Environment Department of the Sochi 2014 Olympics Organizing Committee develop and implement a humane and sustainable plan for managing the community’s roaming dog population” according to a press release. These offers were met with silence. Why? IFAW has an office in Moscow currently dealing with this issue and are no strangers to working the problem.

The IOC (International Olympics Committee) did make a statement to the press recently, as reported by the NYTimes: “Mark Adams, a spokesman, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday that no healthy dogs found on the grounds of the Olympics were being destroyed” relating an almost rosy picture where veterinary technicians were capturing, spay/neutering, vaccinating and adopting the dogs not claimed as lost.

International Olympic Committee — Fact Check, Please

It sounds like Russian officials may have passed this text on to the IOC, perhaps trying to co-opt the work of a local dentist (not a vet tech) and dog lover, Vlada Provotorova, who has done exactly that with around 100 of these dogs. During a video interview with Boston Globe Senior Staff Writer David Filipov she offers that the dogs she and her volunteer friends saved are a far cry from the 5,000 to 7,000 she estimates have been killed to date.

A pest control company was contracted to eliminate area strays, dogs and cats, a longtime practice in Russia, a country reported to be without an established dog shelter system. The methods used are inhumane. (Exceptions to this pattern included Moscow which went no-kill around 2009, apparently without a spay/neuter plan or maybe without funding for it, and was overrun with strays who adapted so well they actually learned to use the mass transit system to travel across the city for food. Later reports said vigilantes were hunting the dogs and shooting them.)

Who Will Help The Animals?

The New York Times this past week described an offer made by a Russian billionaire to try to save dogs, most of which look like family pets according to videos and press reports. Oleg V. Deripaska offered to build and equip a shelter to house, spay/neuter, and provide ongoing annual funding for these animals, but there were/are no construction workers available for the project; available builders continue to work on the unfinished hotels and structures for the Olympic games.

Killing stray dogs continues, although individuals from different corners of Russia are showing up to do what they can often driving 20 hours and more to take dogs back to their homes and get them adopted. And still, the authorities continue to do nothing.

A video report (H/T to Steve Dale) from Keith Olbermann, well-known for not suffering fools gladly, delivers a powerful report:


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