There was a bit of good news yesterday concerning the stray dogs of Sochi — 10 of them arrived in Washington D.C. and will be ready for adoption in a few weeks. It was the result of multi-organization effort, including Humane Society International and the Washington Animal Rescue League, to save as many dogs as possible from the region. This was especially good news for those of us who feared that the attention and money to save these animals would disappear following the Winter Olympics.
These dogs were housed at PovoDog, a shelter funded by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. When I first visited the shelter in early February, it was little more than some outdoor pens hastily assembled for the dogs. Within a few weeks, a chicken-house-length building had been erected and things were looking promising for the strays. Below are some photos from my last visit there, while on assignment for USA TODAY, on Feb. 22.
You can read the full story from that visit by on the screenshot below:
Last week, I again spoke with Anastasia Markitan, a volunteer at the shelter. She said that PovoDop plans to send 100 dogs to the States. They tried to send the dogs earlier, but got bogged down in red tape. “This is the maximum amount (10) of dogs that are allowed on one aircraft,” she said from Moscow. “If everything goes fine with the first shipment and the dogs feel good, we will continue this procedure until we reach 100 dogs.”
As was expected, the media attention on the dog shelter and stray problem as a whole has faded since the Games ended last month. However, Anastasia said that the public’s interest in helping rescue dogs is still strong. “We receive dozens of requests every day,” she said.
PovoDog will continue to try to adopt the dogs locally, as well as ship dogs to the U.S. But, just like in the U.S., awareness about stray dogs and the need for sterilization must be made in order to make any real progress.