A Russian billionaire and animal activists are stepping up to help the many stray dogs that face death in Sochi, Russia because of the 2014 Winter Olympics. They were deemed pests, and officials ordered a private company to murder them.
International media caught wind and spread the word. After facing the heat, a temporary shelter was placed, but then Oleg Deripaska, owner of Russia’s Basic Element and a financial backer of the 2014 Winter Olympics, decided to fund a shelter for the stray dogs.
‘My first dog I found in the street of my village, the tiny village [where I grew up],” Mr Deripaska told the BBC. “It was a very close friend for almost five years.’
Animal activists shot into action as well. They now roam the street and rescue any stray dog they find. The dogs either stay with them or the activist finds a temporary home while looking for a family. Alexei and his wife Dina Fillipova are a few of the many who are fighting to help the dogs.
After midnight, Alexei and Dina fill a specific car with the dogs they find for the shelter. Due to terrorist threats, the security is tight and only specific cars can get in and out of Sochi. The car they use has Moscow number plates. Igor Airapetian’s car reaches the shelter and he unloads the dogs and a trunk full of dog food and medicines.
Airapetian is elated: “My beauties!”
“It was just a coincidence,” Airapetian says when asked why he decided to help taking out dogs from Sochi. “I saw that post (in the social media) and decided to help.”
A few activists said the problem is Russians treat dogs as toys. They will play with them and when they tire of it they just throw them out. Airpetian is very thankful for the international coverage and he hopes this will never happen again.
Sochi city hall announced they will open a brand new dog pound.