The Stray Dogs of Sochi

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Racing to Save the Stray Dogs of Sochi

By David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times

SOCHI, Russia – A dog shelter backed by a Russian billionaire is engaged in a frantic last-ditch effort to save hundreds of strays facing a death sentence before the Winter Olympics begin here. [..]

“We were told, ‘Either you take all the dogs from the Olympic Village or we will shoot them,’ ” said Olga Melnikova, who is coordinating the rescue effort on behalf of a charity called Good Will, which is financed by Oleg V. Deripaska, one of Russia’s billionaire oligarchs.

“On Monday we were told we have until Thursday,” Ms. Melnikova said.

A “dog rescue” golf cart is now scouring the Olympic campus, picking up the animals and delivering them to the shelter, which is really an outdoor shantytown of doghouses on a hill on the outskirts of the city. It is being called PovoDog, a play on the Russian word povodok, which means leash. [..]

Mr. Deripaska, an industrialist who largely made his fortune in aluminum, provided $15,000 to get the shelter started on land donated by the local government. He has also pledged about $50,000 a year for operations. He was also one of the major investors in the Sochi Games and paid for several huge projects, including an overhaul of the airport, a new seaport and the Olympic Village along the coast.

With the Olympics fast approaching, however, there was simply no time to build an indoor space for the shelter, especially because so much work remained to be done on hotels and other buildings for the Games. [..]

All of the dogs entering the shelter receive medical treatment, including vaccinations. All of them will be eligible for adoption, even to fans attending the Olympics. Spared execution – at least for the moment – the animals at the PovoDog shelter barked in a loud chorus as the sun slowly dropped into the Black Sea, which could be viewed in the distance.

According to the article, this is tarnishing the warm and cuddly image of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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1 comment

    • TMC on February 6, 2014 at 9:53 am
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