Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Pre-Olympics, Many Stray Dogs Killed In Sochi

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On Keith Olbermann’s ESPN nightly sportscast Tuesday evening, Olbermann discussed Russia’s current national disgrace: They’re killing stray dogs in Sochi.

Many of them. For no reason, excepting the dogs exist and it’s legal to do whatever you like to dogs in Russia.

That was bad enough news to give me nightmares. And I wondered at the time, “Where are all the Russian animal activists? Don’t they care?”

Fortunately, there are a few who do.

As Olbermann pointed out on his sportscast Wednesday evening, this article from the Boston Globe discusses the efforts of Russian animal activist Vlada Provotorova, who’s so far managed to save about one hundred dogs from the slaughter. These are friendly animals (Olbermann had a video clip, a brief one), and act like they were once members of someone’s family.

Note that Ms. Provotorova is not the only activist who’s tried to make a difference; there are a number of them. (Bless them all.)

You might be forgiven for wondering why it’s legal to kill dogs in Russia. As this article from CNN points out, in Russia, there’s no legislation — none whatsoever — that dictates anything about how to treat a pet.

This is why a pest control service has been contracted by Sochi itself to “take care” of all this by killing the dogs, leaving the city itself to say its hands are clean, because what they’re doing is legal.

What’s frustrating about all this, aside from the fact it’s happening at all, is that a year ago, the Humane Society International wanted to go in there and help sterilize the pet population . . . but Olympic officials turned them down flat according to this article from Time.

From the article:

Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for Humane Society International, was “very surprised” when she heard that Sochi officials planned to kill stray dogs roaming around the Olympic host region throughout the Games. Just last April, organizers scrapped that idea, and said they would build a shelter for the animals. Now, city officials have hired a private company to do the dirty work — its owner told ABC News that the dogs posed a public-safety and health risk and that they were “biological trash.”

“They’ve very publicly gone back on their word,” O’Meara says.

The more I hear about this story, folks, the more I just want to cry.

You see, dogs, as a group, are much more friendly and loyal than the people they’re often entrusted to — and they don’t deserve to be treated as if they’re “biological trash.”

Worst of all, the friendliest animals — the ones that could easily be taken to a shelter, neutered or spayed, and adopted out — are the “easiest to catch” according to O’Meara. So they’re the ones that are most likely getting killed the quickest.

This all could’ve easily been avoided. It should’ve been avoided.

Even now, if the IOC would just get their heads out of their rear ends and admit it’s actually happening, this shameful act could be halted in its tracks. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of dogs’ lives could be saved.

But it seems as if the IOC would rather die than admit to any sort of error whatsoever. Which is why the only story, according to them, is that the dogs are being treated “humanely,” and that all this talk of dogs getting killed is just that — talk.

While I’d like to believe the IOC, if only because they talk a good game, I cannot ignore report after report, both on Olbermann’s show and in at least seventeen different newspaper accounts (written by different people, no less), that talk about the same thing.

Look. I’m a dog lover. So if I were in Russia right now, I’d be one of the many people trying to get the dogs out of there — or at minimum, I’d be one of the reporters discussing the problem and letting the world know it exists.

I hope that in this case that sunlight really is the best disinfectant, so a few more innocent dogs will be saved.

But as I cannot hope for that — most particularly because dogs, at least in that one guy’s eyes, are merely “biological trash” — all I can do is pray that somehow, some way, the word will keep getting out about what’s happening to these poor dogs.

Because it is unconscionable.

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