Meet the People Trying To Save Sochi's Stray Dogs
Sochi's plan to "eliminate" its stray dogs has received lots of pre-Olympic attention.
The city's decision to kill thousands of strays has drawn intense backlash from animal lovers and the media. Vlada Provotorova, a dentist, built a make-shift shelter to house, feed, and sterilize Sochi's strays, telling CNN, "we are protecting them." In an interview with the Boston Globe, Provotorova says that her group of friends and volunteers have been able to save "no more than 100" dogs. She estimates somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 have been killed under the city government's Olympics-motivated crackdown.
While the Winter Games have turned this local problem into an international story, Dina Filippova, a lawyer and one of Provotorova's volunteers, says its not the Olympics that are creating the problem, but the country's lack of animal rights laws. "In Russia, you can abuse animals and it's not a crime," Filippova tells CNN. "You can buy and adopt an animal and release it on the street, it's not a crime. You have no legal obligation to sterilize your dog or cat."
Earlier this week, Sochi's Olympics organizing committee released a statement, declaring that all stray dogs found inside Olympic Park are collected by a veterinary contractor then released after a health check. One hopes the influx of scrutiny will pressure the city government to improve its policies even post-Olympics. But Provotorova doubts it, telling the Globe, “they won't do anything about it.”
Below, a look at Provotorova's shelter and the strays being found around Sochi's Olympic sites:
A dog sleeps at the entrance of the finish line during a cross-country training session for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games at the "Laura" cross-country and biathlon centre in Rosa Khutor February 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
A worker leads a dog off a jump after it had wandered on the course during snowboard slopestyle training at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor, February 4, 2014. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
A stray dog lies on the grass in front of the Bolshoy Ice Dome at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi February 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh)
Stray dogs sit outside the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course, a venue for the snowboarding and freestyle competitions of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Volunteers sit near two stray dogs outside the Gorki media center where they will coordinate the media shuttles buses in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January 30, 2014. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)