Thousands of stray dogs are safe in Sochi thanks to the pressure humane advocates have placed on the Russian government to stop killing the homeless canines before and during the Winter Olympics, reported Monday's New York Daily News.
With private citizens rounding up some of the most adorable and friendliest pooches ever seen anywhere in the world and fostering them in their homes, backyards, and even trucks, the dogs have attracted worldwide attention as they lavish doggy appreciation onto their rescuers as the dogs happily wag their tails and share their sloppery kisses.
Add the unselfish deep pockets of Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's richest men who is funding a shelter on the outskirts of Sochi, unofficial statistics state at least 1,000 stray dogs and puppies have already been saved.
Just last week, Alexei Sorokin, director general of Basya Services, the company hired to kill the dogs, had described the animals as 'biological trash' and stated Sochi stray dogs had a 'rabies' problem.
In a statement according to The Daily Mail, Deripaska told the BBC why he decided to save the stray dogs:
"My first dog I found in the street of my village, the tiny village [where I grew up]. It was a very close friend for almost five years."
According to the Humane Society International director of companion animals, Kelly O'Meara, whose organization tried to intervene and help last year when the orders to kill the strays were originally implemented, O'Meara stated there was never any response from the Russian government. The organization had hoped to help set up spay and neuter programs, health checks, and optional ways to deal with the dogs other than the planned mass killing.
"They're beautiful dogs. These dogs are friendly and interactive dogs."
Anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 stray dogs may already have died, but for the survivors, the promise of new lives in homes seem to be on the horizon.
Are you interested in adopting a Sochi dog? The best way to rescue one of these dogs is to fly to Sochi and bring one home. For Americans who are already in Sochi, it is inexpensive and relatively easy to bring one home.
A website is available for people interested in adopting a Sochi pooch. Please click here for Humane Society International for more information.
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