How the World Cup Is Killing Russia’s Stray Dogs

Our founder, Natalia Chumak, spoke with K9 Magazine about the upcoming FIFA World Cup and the work to save Russia’s stray dogs ahead of the games.

Across Russia, animal rescuers are fighting to save as many of the country’s stray dogs as the launch of the FIFA World Cup 2018 nears and fears grow that tens of thousands of dogs will lose their lives.

Sadly, it’s not the first time this has happened.

Many will remember the athletes who visited Sochi for the Winter Games and were appalled at what was happening to the city’s stray dogs and shared stories, photos and even fostered or rehomed dogs rescued from the wide-scale culling authorised by the local government. US stars Ali Fedotowsky (The Bachelorette) and Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) also got involved, saving and fostering dogs.

This time however, animal rescuers working in the country fear that what’s happening now is on a far greater scale than the stray dog culling that happened in Sochi because Russia’s World Cup will host international football games in 11 locations across the country, with most of their local authorities working towards a target number of dogs to be captured and culled.

The World Cup is both directly and indirectly causing dogs to lose lives because of how the government wants the country to be perceived on the world stage.

“There are 11 locations for the World Cup. There are local government targets for the culling of the dogs in most of these cities. Some of these targets are directly connected with the World Cup, some are not.

“Where they are not, in some places the municipal authorities are more intent on executing the culls and meeting the targets because of the World Cup,” Natalia Chumak, who is the Founder and Trustee of a UK registered animal welfare charity LAPA (Helping animals in Russia), told us.

In Sochi alone, Natalia understands that the local authority is looking to target 3,500 stray dogs, “Unfortunately, there is a lot of deliberate cruelty against animals in Russia.

“The society is very polarised – whilst the animal welfare movement continues to grow and there are some amazingly dedicated and brave people there helping the animals, there are also people who deliberately target animals and kill them in very sadistic ways.

“I think it is fair to say that the World Cup culls have encouraged some of these individuals to do even more harm to the animals because they can see that killing is permissible.”
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