Officials in Sochi, Russia were heavily criticized when international media exposed their plan to round up and kill the stray dogs around the town before the Olympics. Russian billionaires, citizens of Sochi, and Olympic athletes came to the dogs’ rescue. Now a shelter in Washington, DC is lending a hand.
The Washington Animal Rescue League received 10 dogs from Sochi on Thursday. PovoSog, a private animal shelter in Sochi, took care of the dogs and vaccinated them. Russia’s Aeroflot donated the flight from Sochi to DC and it took two days.
“For us, these dogs are wonderful ambassadors for the street-dog issue that exists around the world,” said Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for Humane Society International, an advocacy group that partnered with a shelter in Sochi to bring the animals to Washington.
“We’re very excited. They look like nice dogs and will make great family members,” said Bob Ramin, the shelter’s chief executive officer. He said the strays should be ready for adoption in about 12 days.
The Humane Society needs to take a few days to help the dogs adjust to a new life. The dogs will also need more medical evaluations, but O’Meara said the dogs are very lovable.
“These 10 are representative of some of the dogs that have been removed from the streets and are now up for adoption in Sochi,” said Kelly O’Meara, director of HSI companion animals and engagement. “They’re the sweetest, most interactive, very friendly dogs, very adoptable that just happen to be unfortunate enough to be living on the street.”