I take it back: Don’t go to Sochi. Ever.

The other day, I was trying to uncover the real place behind the upcoming Winter Olympics — Sochi, Russia. In case you were ever interested in visiting.

I take it back. I don’t care if it’s the so-called Russian Riviera. Remember, Stalin liked it.

Sochi, like all of Russia, reportedly has a very bad stray dog problem. And a very bad dog owner problem. Seems too many not only don’t sterilize their pets, but quickly become “bored” with them and kick them to the curb.

A problem certainly not limited to Russia. Just visit any shelter here at home.  With such an overwhelming population, it’s never enough, and my heart goes out to everyone everywhere who tries to help.

But things are said to be so bad in Sochi, the city’s given the go-ahead to kill strays ahead of the Olympics because they pose a threat.

“Let’s call things by their real name. These dogs are biological trash,” says the owner of the company reportedly hired to do the deed. He cites “an epidemic” of rabies in the city.

And he says there are “thousands” of them roaming the streets, “biting children.” And they’ve been able to get inside inside the Olympic grounds.

If that’s all true, it sounds like the plot of yet another bad Hollywood movie.

The people of Sochi have been living with a rabies “epidemic” all this time? From packs of wild dogs taking over and going after their kids?

How could humans have let things get that out of hand? What about declaring a health emergency and working to change hygiene and pet ownership laws?

Again, it’s not my aim to throw rocks when too many Americans treat their pets pretty abysmally too.

But here at home, I’ve always seen news warnings if there’s even as much as one case of rabies. Not going out and killing any dog on the loose.

But the owner of the exterminating company reportedly says rabies isn’t the only threat from strays. There’s so many of them, they could interfere with the athletes. Like one could run into a ski jumper trying to land. Right.

Jordan Malone, a U.S. skater competing in Sochi, might have had a real reason to be afraid if he had taken his beloved dog with him, as he’s done in the past. What if the dog had run off without any ID?

He Tweeted me that as much as he misses his pal, the dog didn’t go with him.

All I can think is: Thank goodness.

Though authorities had promised to stop the practice and build shelters for the strays, animal activists say there’s no evidence that that’s been done.

It sounds like it may be too late for some strays. Let’s hope the outcry can save others.

I won’t watch the games. And wouldn’t dream of going there. Unless it could be to help save a stray. I already have a 17-year-old one. Does that count?


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3 Responses to I take it back: Don’t go to Sochi. Ever.

  1. Randy says:

    Dear Laura Lippstone: Thanks for one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read. There’s a lot of European countries with stray dog issues that have less to do with their owners becoming “bored with them” and more to do with the lack of local government revenues from taxes because of a gray market economy. The USA does not own the patent on being kind-hearted — it’s just we take for granted how easy our lives are such that our local governments can afford to fund animal shelters where we humanely round up and kill 3 to 4 MILLION stray animals a year in the USA despite our best intentions. So please spare us the sanctimony. Next time, take a minute to go down to your LOCAL shelter and ask them how many strays they kill and write an article about why you would never set foot in your own city.

    • planetlippstone says:

      You’re absolutely right. I never said things were better in the U.S. — I pointed out that they weren’t — but we do start out with a slightly better intent. Shelters and then death, or killing without even a chance at a shelter? Not much of a choice.

      I’m well-aware of how many strays are killed each year in our country because people either fail them or legitimately can no longer take care of them.

      It’s the latter that I blame. Don’t get a pet if you can’t take care of it. It’s not a toy. Only get a rescue. Outlaw product testing on dogs, breeders, puppy mills and pet shops. Spay and neuter.

      Will never happen.

      • planetlippstone says:

        Meant to say “former”, not “latter”. And obviously breeders can’t be outlawed. Restricted, somehow?

        I wish people would realize there are so many rescues to choose from, including purebreds, if they absolutely have to have one.

        Thanks for your comment.

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