Stray dogs have been a hot topic of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, especially because the Russian government hired a company to poison the strays before the Olympics began.
Amid cries of outrage from animal activists at the intended killing of thousands of street dogs, Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska funded the immediate construction of an animal shelter in the nearby town of Baranovka for Sochi’s strays, deemed “biological trash” by the owner of the company charged with exterminating them.
Deripaska told the BBC his motivation comes from his own experience with a stray dog as a child. “I adopted a stray puppy from my tiny village when I was a young boy,” Deripaska said. “The dog became my very best friend for five years.”
Run by concerned Russian dog lover Nadezhda Mayboroda, the Deripaska-sponsored shelter is facilitating the adoption of more stray dogs, but it will have little impact on the thousands of abandoned — now stray — dogs that roam the city.
While some dogs were unfortunately killed, and about 140 were brought to the shelter, the problem is far from resolved. During a practice run, a stray dog ran onto a cross country course and started barking at the athletes, and the Olympics dogs are still hanging around the grounds.
A photo taken on Saturday shows two stray dogs fighting in front of the Gorki Media Center. “It's pretty terrifying”, writes Leah Goldman of Business Insider. “We can see why the Russian government was worried about everyone's safety with the stray dogs wandering around.”