Sochi Stray Dogs Receive Shelter During Olympics; One Found at Opening Ceremony

The stray dogs in Sochi received a short stay after revelations the mayor hired companies to slaughter them before the Olympics sparked international outrage. Animal activists, though, believe it is just a show and believe the dogs will be murdered after the games.

"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."

One-hundred dogs were removed from Olympic Park and placed in a temporary shelter thanks to a billionaire philanthropist and animal activists. However, the shelter is made of dirt and gravel. Jenya Popov was hired to feed and take care of the dogs. He lives in an aluminum shed with just a cot and a stove heater, but does not mind the living conditions because he loves the dogs so much. He said the puppies are fed in the morning and older ones in the afternoon.

Nadya Mayboroda, who keeps 16 dogs, said this is only the beginning and a better shelter will be constructed for the dogs. The healthy dogs are immunized and fed regularly. She is also thankful for the international media for bringing attention to the situation.

"This is not really what we need; it's only the solution for three weeks," she said. "But we're caring for them and looking for owners for them. We're not going to stop caring for them when Olympics finish. When all journalists go, we're here and doing it. I'm not stopping."

She does not know how many will be available for adoption. There are people who are still dropping off dogs, but only four dogs were adopted. She is posting information on the internet and across the town about all the dogs. Unfortunately, a lot of them are adults and mutts, which do not bring in much interest.

"Especially now everyone wants a good breed," Popov said. "We've got Shar Pei puppies, well a multibreed of Shar Pei and a stray dog, and some people came do adopt one of them. But when they saw it was a multibreed, they refused."

Mayboroda says more needs to be done, including sterilization.

"What we're trying to say to our local authorities is, come on you're wasting a lot of money for nothing," Mayaboroda said. "You're trying to get rid of stray dogs from the street, but they're still there and if you will spend maybe same amount of money to build houses for free sterilization, it will solve the problem. It should be a tax. If you don't sterilize your dog, you pay more money. But we need to organize a sterilization program."

Not all the dogs were caught, though. One dog found his way into the Opening Ceremony.


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