I am a dog lover. I have never been able to live without a canine companion by my side. As such, I had interest when I ran across Chris Hall’s article “Our Message to Sochi: Dogs Are Not Biological Trash” about the Twitter hashtag #SochiDogs.
As I read the article, and the linked articles, the thought that came to mind was how we Westerners color the rest of the world with our world view, and compare everything to our standards. Worse, our news media outlets often twist things to touch the nerves of their viewers, which increases views and ratings.
I am not condoning the harsh words of Alexei Sorokin in this ABC interview, but I do understand the safety issue he speaks of. When you strip away the offensive tag of “Biological Trash” from the dogs, the safety issue is similar to ones we have had in the USA but to a more severe extent.
Our own news is filled with reports of children (and adults) being attacked and killed by Pitbulls. And what do we do in these cases? We arrest owners, and put the dogs to sleep. And we have animal control and shelters. In Russia, they are few and far between.
The reality in the former Soviet Union is that people do not have the same “family” relationship with dogs that we have in the West. Often children are given pets, and when they do not take care of them, they are discarded in parks and school yards. Often dogs are taken for protection, and when a family is hungry the dog is the first one to leave the family. These animals form packs, and they hunt for food.
They are not the friendly stray lying in the street waiting for a loving home. They are killers that are being killed (just as in the US).
I have seen these packs attack people in the former Soviet Union. The dogs revert to their undomesticated wolf heritage, and they hunt small, injured, or infirm “prey.” What usually occurs is not an animal rescue team showing up to take the dogs into custody – these organizations are few there. Rather, the police show up and terminate the animals. The last time I saw this, in Ukraine, the persons being attacked were severely injured by the pack before being killed by the police.
We, as Westerners, really need to step back and gather facts before we go off based on a news media report. Our news is painting a US world view meant to garner viewers, not an unbiased report of facts. The Olympic Committee had this to say.
I mourn the dogs killed in Sochi. But I also question where were these “animal rights activists” over the past years, that there are thousands of stray dogs on their streets?