Kiev's dog hunters go on the attack to rid the city of strays
- Just read article from the Guardian Uk. What is going on
From The Gaurdian:
Kiev's dog hunters
go on the attack to rid the city of straysCreatures slaughtered with poison or
a single shot to the head on the grounds of public health
Oksana Grytsenko in Kiev
Sunday 11 August 2013 18.18 EDT
Kiev has up to 18,000 stray animals, mostly dogs, the
authorities say. Photograph: Anna Voitenko
nicknames such as hunter, comrade and chemist-amateur. They swap tips on the
whereabouts of a target and recipes for poison. And when the moment is right,
they strike with doctored food or a simple shot to the head.
Kiev's dog hunters
are taking matters into their own hands, targeting the city's thousands of
strays in the name of public health. But in so doing, they are stoking a row
about animal rights in a country famously blase about the welfare of its
Last year, when
pictures of strays lying on Ukrainian streets provoked an international storm
in the runup to Euro 2012, the government invited in foreign vets, including
the Austrian organisation Vier Pfoten (Four Paws), which offered free neutering
and vaccination of stray animals at mobile clinics.
But soon after the
football fans went home, the slaughter of stray dogs resumed in Kiev.
Now Vier Pfoten has
stopped its neutering programme after death threats were posted on the web.
"They said I could be killed exactly like happened to a judge in
Kharkiv," said Amir Khalil, head of the Vier Pfoten project in Ukraine,
referring to a judge found decapitated in his flat together with three members
of his family in December 2012. "They said: 'We don't need foreigners to
castrate our dogs!'"
He said because the
authorities and police in Kiev had not taken action after the threats, the
project had been moved out of the city.
Kiev, which has a
population of about 3 million people, has up to 18,000 stray animals, mostly
dogs, city officials say. The authorities claim they lack money to keep them
all at shelters.
Dog hunters use a
website called "Vreditelyam.net?" ("no to pests") to share
information about the dogs' locations, discuss recipes for poison and post
photographs of the dogs they have killed. They call the dogs "flea
carriers", the pieces of food laced with poison "yummy" and the
dog's killing "sending to a rainbow".
Dead dogs in
plastic bags left on the ground. Photograph: Anna Voitenko Oleksiy Sviatohor, a
lawyer, is one of the few who admits to being a dog hunter. "This work is
like cleaning up the trash," he said. "Some may not like it, but we
are finding the solution."
that the neutering by Vier Pfoten was merely mutilating the dogs and did not
solve the problem. He said the poison, an anti-tuberculosis medication that is
extremely toxic for dogs, causes a relatively fast and painless death.
Tarnavska, an animal rights campaigner, finds it almost unbearable to talk
about the dog hunters. "An animal takes five or six hours to die in
agony," she said.
seen the hunters giving poison to the dogs and reported them to the police. But
they remember only one case of someone being imprisoned for slaughtering stray
dogs. In June 2012 a student, Oleksiy Vedula, who tortured and killed more than
100 dogs and posted videos on the web, was sentenced to four years in jail.
thousands of residents had been attacked by stray dogs and many people supported
the dog hunters.
But animal rights
activists say family dogs and even children playing in gardens risk eating
poison left by the dog hunters.
Serhiy Morozov, a
video engineer, was recently bitten on the leg by a stray dog. He said he was
lucky to be wearing jeans, which protected him from the dog's teeth and the
risk of rabies.
Moro zov said that
while he would be more careful around stray dogs, he would never justify the
killing of animals by dog hunters. "I would strangle these people with my
own hands," he said.