In recent weeks, hundreds of stray dogs in the city of Sochi, Russia have been killed in so-called preparation of the Olympic Winter Games. Russian officials have ordered all stray dogs found wandering the streets to be shot with poison darts.
As a result, Russian citizens have witnessed dogs suffering a painful death as the poison darts causes the dogs to slowly suffocate. Even worse (if that’s possible), many of the dogs were pets in homes that were knocked down to make way for the Olympic festivities. The families who lived in the homes were forced to move into apartments where dogs are not allowed and were left behind.
Now, The New York Times reports that a Russian billionaire is making a last ditch effort to save the dogs being killed for the Sochi Olympics:
“We were told, Either you take all the dogs from the Olympic Village or we will shoot them,’” said Olga Melnikova, who is coordinating the rescue effort on behalf of a charity called Volnoe Deloe (roughly, Good Will), which is financed by Oleg V. Deripaska, one of Russia’s billionaire oligarchs.
Since there has been little time to build an adequate shelter for the rescued dogs and finding a contractor who is not busy with Olympic details has proved impossible, the dogs remain in an outside area in cages. The Russian government began killing dogs in October which is also when rescue efforts began. Volnoe Deloe was given until today to gather as many dogs as they could, administer veterinarian care to each dog and put them up for adoption.
The Humane Society International has urged the Russian president to put a stop to the killings. The Washington-based advocacy organization wrote a letter to Mr. Putin, appealing to his own experience as a dog owner. Putin has a black lab named Koni.
Some dogs in the makeshift shelter have already been adopted, and like always, the puppies are the first to leave. The dogs will be available to anyone who wants them, including tourists and people attending the Olympic festivities.
It is a shame that in a worldwide competition specifically designed to generate good will and camaraderie, that innocent animals have been killed solely for the sake of the games. It is senseless and inhumane and should never have been allowed.
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