The Garden City Telegram
2/7/2014
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Stray dog situation yet another reason to be skeptical of Sochi

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When I saw the two toilets in one stall, I laughed.

When I saw the discolored water, I thought it was gross.

When I saw pictures of the garbage in the streets, hotels under construction and uncovered manholes, I thought, "this place is a mess."

When I heard that stray dogs were going to be rounded up and killed, I thought "this is a barbaric country that has no right hosting the world."

Sochi, Russia, is overrun with 2,000 stray dogs.

By the time the Winter Olympics started, officials had tried to eradicate them in the most vile way I can think of.

According to news reports, Basya Services, a pest control company, was hired by Olympic officials to round up the strays and kill them, either by poisoning or shooting them.

There were reports that dogs were seen spitting up and collapsing, a sign of poisoning.

Russian officials had plans a year ago to get rid of the dogs, but plans changed when an animal activist group caught wind of the plan.

The dogs were then to be rounded up and placed in shelters, but the only sign of a shelter is one that was hastily built recently, making it appear the shelter idea was just to appease those who complained.

Hundreds of dogs already have been killed, but there is a recent effort to shelter the remaining dogs before they can be killed.

There also is a small contingent of Russians trying to capture and save the dogs.

The big problem is pet owners who have let their dogs breed and then set the puppies loose to find their own way.

These people know that the strays they sent out to live off the streets would die on their own or be killed.

I don't know how these people can live with that decision.

Even though the owners have the ultimate responsibility to limit breeding or take care of the dogs they have, Olympic officials hiring a company to kill them is even more offensive.

These dogs have not done anything wrong except be born into a vicious cycle that leads to them wandering the streets looking for food and shelter, turning mean, and then dying.

From the reports coming out of Russia, Sochi has many problems.

Hotels, just a week before the Olympics, were not finished. Streets are strewn with garbage, and the water is undrinkable.

I do not know what goes into awarding a country the right to host the Olympic games, but this looks to be a bad decision.

I'm sure Russia made promises of a beautification plan, and killing dogs was never part of their presentation.

Maybe Sochi will rally. I'm sure they will put on a good face, hiding what they don't want the rest of the country to see.

But when we look behind the curtain, will we be staring at dead dogs?

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.