Yesterday we covered the IOC’s statement that “healthy” stray dogs would be relocated, as opposed to killed, but that pledge had been in stark contrast to earlier reports had indicated that a firm was contracted to exterminate the animals.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken visited a shelter outside Sochi that is currently housing about 100 dogs; is it a good faith effort by local officials to treat the animals humanely, or something merely done for appearances?
“The mayor made this shelter just to show that picture so that you could see and believe it like fools,” Gontareva Ekaterina, a retiree and animal activist, said through an interpreter. “It’s not going to change anything. They’re not doing this for the animals. People just want to eat and sleep good.”
In addition to being facilitated by local government and volunteer animal activists, the shelter was made possible with funding by billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
After the Olympics are over and the torrent of international athletes, spectators, and media leaves town, there are questions about what will become of the sheltered dogs. Workers are hoping for high adoption levels, but will not realistically be able to do so for all the animals — and even then, other issues will arise.
“I think the situation has changed a bit (due to the attention it has received),” [a worker] said. “In three weeks it’s impossible to save all dogs. The problem is not only now. The problem was there before and it will be there after. We’re trying to solve it, but we are people — what we can, we’re doing. We need to find (more permanent) options to solve it. Shelter isn’t solving the problem.”
Related: IOC Claims Stray Dogs Aren’t Getting Exterminated in Sochi
Related: Video: Stray Dog Barking at Olympic Cross Country Skiers in Sochi
Related: Vladimir Putin Visits Sochi, Takes Picture With Olympic Leopard
[Photo by Kevin Liles/USA Today]