This year cruelty to dogs in Russia has reached a disgusting level. In several regions local authorities have cynically slaughtered hundreds of Russian stray dogs breaking the existing laws and arousing mass protests of animal rights activists and ordinary people. In one of the regions dog cruelty was reported as part of local authorities’ preparation for the visit of President Medvedev, personally known as dog lover.
The most outrageous events took place in the Ulyanovsk region in southwest Russia. One morning local residents discovered dozens of dead dogs lying here and there in the city. The stray dogs were shot to death with air rifles, allegedly distributed to “volunteers” by local authorities. The shots in the rifles were filled with a curare-type poison which causes asphyxia and an agonizing death.
The disgusting behavior of local authorities was followed by brutal killings of Russian stray dogs by sadistic individuals in several cities, including Moscow. The corpses of over 20 Moscow dogs were discovered recently in one of the largest city’s parks. Another slaughter took place northwest of Moscow, where unknown sadists armed with automatic and trauma guns killed over 10 stray dogs. Until now only one of such bastards was brought to court after killing six dogs by shooting them from his vehicle’s window.
Today there are from 35,000 to 70,000 stray dogs in Moscow, and their number increases each year by 2,000-5,000 animals. (Photo Credit: Effervescing Elephant/Flockr)
This problem has a very long history. One of the best novels of the great Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog, portrays a stray dog named Sharik who takes human form as a frowzy communist.
Many Moscow residents, especially older people, enjoy, or at least tolerate stray dogs, feeding the strays and building simple winter shelters for them. The Russian subway dogs give a special character to internationally famous Moscow Metro.
In 2002 Moscow authorities issued the laws forbidding the killing of stray animals and launched a city program of building shelters and sterilizing strays. In 2008 they allocated nearly $84 million and in 2009 about $100 million to fulfill this program. But according to animal rights activists, only 5% of stray dogs were in fact sterilized annually, and most of the allocated money was misused by greedy officials.
This year Moscow government has outraged the animal rights activists with its decision to amend the current legislation on Moscow stray dogs, allowing municipal shelters to selectively euthanize “sick, old and aggressive animals”. The animal rights activists are afraid that in practice such an amendment will only increase dog cruelty and lead to mass slaughter of all stray and lost animals taken to the city’s animal shelters. Dozens of people have formed a human chain in front of a Moscow government building to protest against new regulations.
Many Moscow dog cruelty resisters are sure that euthanizing Moscow dogs and other homeless animals is both barbarous and inefficient in solving the problem. They argue that the only effective measure to address the issue is through mass sterilization of the strays.