A plan that smacks of the days when Russian dissidents were sent to labor farms in Siberia was almost resurrected when officials in Moscow came up with a plan to ship the city’s estimated 26,000 stray dogs to a camp hundreds of miles away. The plan was ditched on Tuesday.
Animal rights activists and Russian celebrities have been pressuring the city to drop the plan because it would place the dogs in a dangerous environment and expose them to disease. The Associated Press said those trying to stop the deportation plan compared it to sending the dogs to a concentration camp.
The Moscow city government was expected to approve the plan on Tuesday, but instead they took the topic off the agenda.
Moscow has a big problem with homeless dogs that live on the streets and in subway stations. A recent story highlighting the situation showed that many had become so “street smart” they were able to ride escalators and trains. But on the negative side, some of the dogs also intimidate or attack people.
The controversial plan would have rounded up the dogs and sent them to a camp in a region 150 miles northeast from Moscow. But activists protested the plan and gathered nearly 2,000 signatures from “prominent artists and musicians” to stop it.
According to The AP, Moscow has spent $45 million on dog shelters, spay and neuter and other programs between 2008 and 2009 to get a handle on the massive overpopulation problem, but critics complain much of the money has “gone unaccounted for.”
Animal activists want the city to form an independent group to explore an alternate plan and advise city officials how to proceed in dealing with the stray dogs. Some of the things they want are a tax for dog breeders, who they believe contribute greatly to the problem and more education and access to spay and neuter programs.
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