01 June 2012
Animal rights activists found animals were being shot, poisoned and hanged by “street cleaning” squads — with some even being taken to crematoriums and feared incinerated alive.
The slaughter, which in the last year is believed to have resulted in the death of more than 12,000 animals in Kiev alone, is allegedly continuing despite government promises to end the barbaric practice and build animal shelters.
Tamara Tarnavska, of local charity SOS Animals, said that these public pledges meant nothing as her network of investigators were still finding daily cases of stray dogs being culled.
“In Kiev they are poisoning them, and some are even shot,” she said. “The poison can take up to six hours to kill the animals so we believe some are very possibly being taken to crematoriums and burnt while not yet dead.
“I challenged the Mayor of Kiev and he admitted some people were still killing strays. Outside the capital the situation is even worse. Last year in Lisichansk there were mobile incinerators roaming the streets.”
Ukraine, which is co-hosting Euro 2012 with Poland, has spent £6.6 billion preparing for the tournament. The animal rights charity Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, found the dog-killing programme was focused on the four cities hosting matches, with approximately 7,000 allegedly being killed in Donetsk alone.
Dogs not immediately killed were being taken to the municipal animal shelters and left to languish in ramshackle enclosures with no protection from the elements, the group’s German branch announced this month.
“Ukraine is spending hundreds of millions of euros building shiny new stadiums but it’s the dogs on the streets who are paying the ultimate price for the country to play host to Euro 2012 matches,” a Peta spokesman warned.
But one international animal welfare organisation is attempting to help the dogs.
A convoy of 11 animal rescue vehicles from the Four Paws organisation arrived in the city in March with a group made up of vets and activists from more than 12 countries.
The team is working in mobile clinics to carry out a wide scale neutering and vaccination programme for the strays.
Dogs that are neutered are also given vaccinations, anti-parasite treatment and health checks.
Ukraine’s environment minister announced a ban on the further killing of dogs following a campaign by animal activists against the practice at the end of last year.
He subsequently pledged £2.5 million to build 200 new shelters to house the country’s estimated 500,000 strays as well as a four-month sterilisation programme.
SOS Animals said it had never received the sum promised to its shelter and reported there had been no sign of the sterilisation programme being instigated. It is claimed dead dogs’ coats are made into hats and their bones ground down for animal feed.
The Ukrainian government said it was seeking ways to enforce the moratorium on dog killing and has warned that city mayors who disobey the directive will be punished.