Let’s face it, we’re all having a good LOL over the rampant dysfunction already on display at the Sochi Winter Olympics, but there is something going on over there right now that is impossible to laugh at (in addition to the persecution of homosexuals): the Russian government’s plot to execute thousands of stray dogs in Sochi (which we first told you about a few days ago), many of which were made homeless when their owners were forced out to make way for Olympic construction.
Keith Olbermann has already called for Americans to boycott the Sochi games, but last night on his show he really brought the heat, detailing how a pest control companies in Sochi has been contracted to exterminate all of the area’s strays, also know as “biological trash.” They’re doing this by laying out poisoned bits of meat and shooting the dogs with poison darts. It’s estimated that 7000 have been killed so far.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports today that a good-hearted Russian billionaire is frantically trying to save as many of the strays, which many American journalists on the ground there have described as friendly and wholly domesticated.
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.
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.
Lying past a cemetery, at the end of a dirt road and without electricity or running water, the makeshift PovoDog shelter is already giving refuge to about 80 animals, including about a dozen puppies. One is a chocolate-colored Shar-Pei and her two mostly Shar-Pei puppies. Another is a large, reddish-brown sheep dog named Kasthan, who likes to jump up and kiss the shelter workers, who are mostly volunteers.
Local animal rights workers say many of the strays were pets, or the offspring of pets, abandoned by families whose homes with yards were demolished over the past few years to make way for the Olympic venues and who were compensated with new apartments in taller buildings, where keeping a pet is often viewed as undesirable.
As I write this my dog — who I’d run into a burning house to try to safe — is cuddled up next to me and I might be a little choked up. That is all.