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The Olympics and Strays

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By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

In just a few days people from all over the world will be watching the Olympic Games. The host city of Sochi in Russia is trying to put its best face forward in hopes of boosting tourism throughout the city and the country.

According to Andrew Rowan, CEO of Humane Society International (HSI), the city of Sochi hired a company to kill stray animals before the crowds descend. Rowan is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the culling. “Killing street dogs, whether through poisoning, shooting, or other means, is not only inhumane, but ineffective,” says Rowan.

HSI, the global arm of The Humane Society of the United States, has been implementing street dog programs throughout the world for nearly two decades. According to Rowan, HSI’s programs include mass sterilization, vaccination, and community education. “It’s the only effective approach to solve the street dog issue long term,” he says.

In a letter delivered to President Putin, HSI describes its collaboration with governments from around the world to implement programs to humanely and effectively control street dog populations. These programs, which are in place in India and Bhutan, among other countries, have resulted in fewer dogs on the street; a reduction in the rate of dog attacks, and substantial reduction in the number of dog bites requiring treatment; and an improved human-dog relationship that benefits both people and dogs.

The letter also describes how HSI has closely monitored the street dog problem in Russia for the past two decades, observing that street dog programs implemented by local governments have suffered from lack of resources and commitment.

HSI became involved in Sochi last summer when city officials announced a plan to kill 2,000 dogs ahead of the Winter Olympics. The international outcry forced city officials to abandon that plan. HSI stands ready to help Russian authorities address street dogs, saying in the letter that: “While it is too late for many dogs in Sochi, we again offer to provide advice and expertise on how to manage dog populations humanely.”

A full copy of the letter to President Putin is available here. You can sign this letter to President Putin urging him to find a better way to manage the street dog problem in Russia.

11 comments to The Olympics and Strays

  • Marlene

    We should all boycott watching and going to the Olympics when not only animals are treated inhumanely, but when people are too.

  • Make spay and neuter a law then you don’t have to kill those poor animals when it’s not their fault that people are ignorant!

  • I am opposed to the way these animals are being handled. It is cruel amd evil. A country is civilized by the way they treat their animals.

  • Robin Boynton

    I hope you make a humane choice! (Stop the culling!)

  • Suzanne Gabriel

    Stop this!! It is unnecessary and inhumane.

  • Susan

    First it’s Gay and Lesbian people are being discriminated against, and now the animals. I’m sure cats have been rounded up too. How awful. Thank you for letting us know about this. I have signed the letter.

  • Diane

    Thank you for covering this hard to hear topic. Shame on the government in Russia for the way they treat animals and people. I will NOT be watching the Olympics.

  • glen

    I will not be watching any of it.

    Proverbs 12:10 tells us to look after animals not murder them

  • Marcia

    I am even more shocked that none of the participants have spoken out!!! If even a few had stood up it would have helped immensely. As Glen posted ts clearly and simply written in the bible to take care of animals. We are NO better then animals. Animals are disgracefully treated, similar to seniors. We will all answer in the end.

  • Mary

    It’s good to see something positive from these games. Now, we need to focus on human rights there.

  • […] Michele C. Hollow writes about pets and wildlife for parade.com and other lifestyle publications. You can read her story about stray dogs in Sochi at her blog, Pet News and Views. […]