Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stray Dog Genocide: Let the Games Commence

The Winter Olympics begin today in Sochi, Russia with an added "human interest" story that provides news junkies with some disturbing local color. (Never mind the all-too-frequent terrorism plots making the headlines...)

Folks in the area had their homes bulldozed to make room for the stadium and other venues. They were moved into highrises somewhere in the vast Russian state, and most were forced to leave their pets behind. It seems that landlords worldwide sing the "no pets allowed" hymnal when renting their apartments.

As a result, a disproportionate number of stray dogs roam the area, left to a cold and lonely fate save for the scraps they glean from construction workers at the Olympic venues. Since an overpopulation of stray dogs would reflect poorly on the area, and tourists seem to view strays as rabid, the Russian government came up with a wonderful solution: killing them with poison darts that cause death by suffocation. Poison control businesses are now booming in Sochi. (I wonder, what happened to the cats, pet hamsters, fish and birds?)

Enter a Russian billionaire who has provided a collection of ramshackle dog huts in a dog village that tragically resembles a South African township for Congolese refugees.

So as Winter Olympic fans joyfully tune in to watch worldclass athletes, who deserve positive attention for their incredible prowess, let us say a prayer for all the sentient beings to survive and thrive - whether they glow on the world stage, are segregated into subhuman slums, or are disenfranchised pets lurking in back alleys in search of scraps.

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