Ukraine accused of slaughtering dogs
October 24, 2011 by staff
Over the next two hours, the dog convulsed in agony, barking and howling in a shrill voice, saliva and blood dripping from her mouth.
“What do you punish them for my good girl?” an elderly woman said as she wept and poured the water dog, hoping to relieve some pain. Then Naida died.
Animal welfare groups have accused Ukrainian authorities of the use of illegal and inhumane methods of killing stray dogs causing long, agonizing deaths. They say that dogs are being poisoned or injected with banned substances such as officials scramble to clear the streets before the Euro 2012 football tournament next summer.
Euro 2012 organizers deny any involvement in a campaign to eradicate street.
Official statistics are hard to complete, but the figures and estimates provided to The Associated Press by the authorities of the host cities for Euro 2012 Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv show that more than 9,000 dogs have been sentenced to death during the last year. Animal protection groups put the figure much higher.
“It’s a slaughterhouse,” said Asya Serpinska, president of the Ukrainian Association of animal protection organizations. “We are convinced that there is an official order to purge the cities of euros of stray animals so that, God forbid, a stray dog ??will not bite a stranger.”
Ukraine has a large population of stray dogs is estimated at tens of thousands of people in some cities. Dogs often run in packs, you can see on the streets, parks and even playgrounds. About 3,000 people reported being bitten by stray dogs last year in Kiev and Kharkiv about 1,900, according to city officials.
On paper, the authorities have adopted the internationally accepted practice of sterilization of stray dogs, and then release them in areas that do not pose a public threat, placing them in shelters or search for homes. Sick or aggressive dogs are slaughtered humanely.
But in reality, activists say, a stray dog ??by the authorities has little chance of survival. The only question, they say, is how much he suffered before he died. The shelters are virtually no pet adoption sterilization unpopular and costly, most dogs are simply put, they say.
“It’s catch and kill,” said John Ruane of NatureWatch, a group of British animal welfare which monitors the situation in Ukraine. “It is barbaric.”
NatureWatch has been campaigning to host Euro 2012, UEFA European football, to cancel the championship of Ukraine and move all the events in neighboring Poland, which is co-hosting the event, because of the death of the dog. UEFA told the AP he never asked to stay away slaughtered and used “the scope of our influence” to address the problem and ensure that animals are treated humanely.
Yulia Shapovalova, an animal control officer in Kharkiv, acknowledged that 95 percent of the 550 dogs each month takes care facility are sacrificed. This compares with 8 percent of stray dogs slaughtered in the United Kingdom and about 50 percent in the U.S., according to animal welfare groups in the countries.
Another animal of the city the control group, the Kharkiv State Academy of Veterinary Medicine, is accused of keeping dogs in cages so small that the animals can barely move. Photos taken by activists displaying wooden boxes sealed with virtually no light enters, the animals condemned to obscurity.
Dogs captives are given little food and water and are forced to urinate and defecate in the cage, said Yelena Ratnikova, head of Kharkiv Adopt-a-Pet Center.
Igor Furdo, an animal control officer at the facility, insisted that the concerns were unfounded. “If the dog will be killed, who cares what the cage is kept?” He asked.
Viktoria Bohatyr, Kharkiv dog control officer, acknowledged the problems at the academy. But he denied that the killing of dogs in the city was connected to the football championship.
“Our task is to reduce the number of stray animals,” he said. “We make it our goal to kill all dogs before Euro 2012. That’s impossible.”
In Donetsk, Oleksandr Reingold, a dog control officer, said that of the 20 dogs collected every day, only 30 percent are euthanized. Most others are placed in the shelter of the city, he said.
Serpinska disputed those figures, saying that the records of a control facility Donetsk dog, animals in the city, showed about 50 dogs were killed there every day – 98 percent of all dogs handled. Animals in the city declined to comment or give any figures on the control of dogs.
Naida agonizing death in the center of Donetsk in June 2010 was filmed by animal protection activities.
The group’s director, Lyudmila Novikova, says Naida and two dogs that died in the same neighborhood that day were poisoned by Grinkodon, a company the city hired for the control of stray animals.
Residents said a truck had parked on her street and the driver was seen throwing something on the ground. The truck came back several hours later to pick up the lifeless body Naida and two dead dogs.
A search turned up pieces of sausage containing white pills lying on the ground. Tests determined the pills were isoniazid, a drug used to treat tuberculosis in humans that causes seizures in dogs and can be lethal, Novikova said. She said she had a piece of sausage in the freezer, but city officials have refused to investigate.
Serhiy Grinkodon Ustimov spokesman denied the allegations, saying the company did not appeal to the “barbarous” methods. Reingold, the city official, also denied the city was involved. “We do not do those things,” he said.
Donetsk and Kharkiv activists say stray dogs are also routinely killed by blowpipe syringes loaded with dithylinum, a substance banned in western Ukraine and the euthanasia of animals. It paralyzes the respiratory system, so the dog dies slowly of suffocation, the suffering of more than an hour.
The activists say they have received numerous complaints from residents that dogs are lying helplessly on the ground, still alive, but unable to breathe or move and condemned to a painful death. City officials deny the use of the drug.
In Kiev, Taras Smurniy, head of a municipal animal control called Animal Shelter, said the capital would not euthanize dogs. He said that of the 300 dogs collected in the last three months, all were sterilized and released. That statement was discussed by the government of the city of Kiev, who said that stray dogs are slaughtered when they are seriously ill, as well as “other circumstances”. He did not specify what those might be.
Animal welfare groups say dozens of dogs, including family pets, have been fatally poisoned in Kiev in recent months, blaming the authorities of the city.
In January, James Wolf, press attache at the U.S. Embassy, ??took his 4 years old, Golden Retriever, Arien, to a park. The dog ate something on the ground and soon suffered a seizure. In severe pain, who died before Wolf could reach a veterinarian. Five family pets were poisoned in the park that night.
Wolf does not know who poisoned Aries, but regrets that the municipal authorities have not investigated and that the dogs are still dying in the same way. It also warns that children could eat the poisoned food.
“It was very sad,” said Wolf. “If something like this happened in the United States or Western Europe, I imagine that the protest would be enough for someone to get to the bottom of it and makes sure it stops.”
Kiev City Administration Oleksandr Popov head insisted authorities have never given orders to poison dogs.
However, an invoice is shown to the AP indicates that Kiev animal control officers last year bought a large amount of zinc phosphide, a poison that kills dogs, causing internal bleeding. The bill was leaked to the activists by a city official who sympathizes with the animals, according to Tamara Tarnavska of the animal rights group SOS.
“They deal with stray dogs in the cheapest way possible,” said Ruane NatureWatch is.
In the western city of Lviv, at least 70 dogs, both stray and pet has been poisoned since April, according to city officials. The authorities deny involvement and people say they do not like the dogs are behind the poisoning.
Harmatiy Romano, head of a group of animals of the city funded by the control, Lev, said that of the 100 dogs that takes care of every month, half are euthanized and the rest sterilized and released. However, the city official veterinary Mahora in doubt Yuri says Lev did not receive funding for the sterilization of this year.
There were also questions about how dogs are euthanized. According to Harmatiy, the installation uses injections of magnesium sulphate, which causes cardiac arrest and respiratory muscle paralysis through. However, this must be preceded by general anesthesia so that the animals do not suffer spasms of agony before death, according to the World Society based in London for the Protection of Animals.
Harmatiy insisted that the dogs were premedicated. However, former employees claim Lev anesthesia was not used in order to save money, and the dogs left to die in agony, according to activists. Residents who live nearby complain of agonizing shrieks and groans from the facility, said Yevhen Fursov, president of the Association of Animal Protection Lviv.
Animal protection groups say that euthanasia of stray dogs is not only inhumane but also ineffective: an animal control program successfully combines sterilization and release, and promote responsible pet ownership.
“They are putting a bandaid on the problem, not doing anything to solve the problem,” said Kelly Coladarci Washington Humane Society International.
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