The Winter Olympics! We've waited four long years to watch both old and new talents display their skills on snow-covered hills and frozen lakes. The Sochi Olympics have had their share of scrutiny and criticism for logistic and security issues. One thing that has not made the popular news is the fact that Sochi officials are in the process of rounding up and destroying stray dogs from the area.
These aren't dangerous, deadly animals. They are simply homeless and hungry canines. The fact that this city hasn't made attempts in the past to take these animals into shelter, feed, sterilize and re-home them, nor have they introduced strong animal welfare policies, is another matter entirely.
The immediate and tragic problem is what to do with all the dogs during the Olympic games. Although the effort to collect and shelter these dogs began in October, reports from animal rights advocate, Tatyana Leshchenko, indicate 300 dogs a month are being destroyed.
A pest control company by the name of Basya Services has been hired by the government to catch the strays and kill them, often with darts poisoned with a chemical that causes them to suffocate. Animal advocates are working diligently to find alternatives to these cruel practices.
Concerned, compassionate residents like industrialist Mr. Deripaska, have donated to start a shelter for the dogs. However, as word of the shelter gets out, more and more dogs are being dropped off there, leaving the shelter unable to accommodate all the homeless dogs.the shelter workers, who are mostly volunteers.
Local animal rights workers say many of the strays were pets, or the offspring of pets, abandoned by families whose homes with yards were demolished over the past few years to make way for the Olympic venues and who were compensated with new apartments in taller buildings, where keeping a pet is often viewed as undesirable.
The shelter, which lies on the outskirts of town, is primarily staffed by volunteers. This is a last-ditch effort to save the dogs of Sochi, and they need your support. There are online petitions to sign at Change.org http://www.change.org/petitions/sochi-russia-2014-olympics-ioc-olympics-sochi-2014-stop-the-mass-killing-of-stray-dogs as well as One Green Planet http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/dogs-speak-out-against-sochis-stray-animal-cull-photos/ or sign a letter to President Putin to stop the dog cull in Sochi https://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=104&ea.campaign.id=25354&ea.tracking.id=billboard