By Brooke Kansier
The world is watching Sochi, Russia, the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympics. And it does not like what it sees.
The mass culling of street dogs in Sochi has both Russian rescuers and Lansing animal activists in protest.
“It’s awful,” said Melayna Wilkes, a Capital Area Humane Society volunteer, “I don’t understand how a person can do that to animals, let alone a whole country.”
“Clearly they decided in a last minute capacity that they didn’t want these dogs around, so they chose some inhumane ways to do this to deal with it quickly,” said Julia Palmer, CEO of the Capital Area Humane Society.
Pest control company Basya Services was contracted to dispose of the dogs. While they have not disclosed the methods used to exterminate the strays, rescuers believe poison is being used, in conjunction with shooting.
“Poisoning is not considered a humane method or treatment of animals,” said Palmer.
According to the Boston Globe, rescuers estimate that between 5,000 and 7,000 dogs have been killed.
Along with being inhumane, these practices are also ineffective, according to Palmer.
“The dogs will come back. How they should’ve dealt with it was to deal with the issue before now,” she said. “They should’ve been thinking about it six months, a year ago, implementing sterilization.”
Sterilization seems to be the solution many are pointing to.
“If they spay/neuter them, the population goes down,” said Wilkes, “They wouldn’t even be having this problem if they did it right before.”
A better solution
While sterilization might be a good answer to Sochi’s problem, it is also valuable in controlling strays here.
Of course, the strays in Lansing are not the same as those in Sochi.
“The strays here aren’t like the ones on the streets in Sochi,” said Palmer. “If you find a stray in Lansing, it’s probably someone’s pet.”
“You don’t really see a lot of strays here,” said Lansing Township native and dog owner Alan Mettle.
This does not mean that sterilization is not important in Lansing, however.
“[At the Humane Society], we sterilize all of our new animals, and we encourage people to get their other pets sterilized, too,” said Wilkes.
“I got our dog Leo at the shelter,” said Mettle. “He came neutered with all of his shots.”
Sterilization here prevents dog populations from growing out of control and spilling into the streets.
“We have our Veterinary Services Department,” said Palmer. “They provide spay/neuter services for all of the animals, we try to get everybody healthy before they go up for adoption.”
Capital Area provides spay/neuter services to local owners as well, in the form of an off-site clinic devoted directly to this purpose.
“The resources we supply, the spay and neuter services, the adoption services, the educational services, all those things go beyond what people traditionally think of shelters,” said Palmer.
These services are valuable to the community, and it is not hard to see the impacts of a lack of appropriate shelters, such as in Sochi.
“It’s hard to imagine a community without a humane society, but there are certainly those areas out there that don’t have them,” said Palmer.
A recent donation to the clinic by Pet Smart has supplied the means to offer free spay/neuter services to local cats. For more information, visit the Capital Area Humane Society website, or call 517-908-0765.
For information on how to adopt a Sochi stray, visit this Humane Society article. For information on how to adopt a local animal, check out dogs and cats at the Capital Area Humane Society or call 517-626-6060.