Sochi Dogs, But What About Adopting Our Dogs?

Sochi Dogs, But What About Adopting Our Dogs?
A stray dog sleeps in Olympic Park on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Photographed during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia with an iPhone and Instragram. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

Ten dogs from Sochi, Russia arrived at the Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington D.C. where they will be offered for adoption. Stray dogs in Sochi garnered international attention, even more attention than some Olympic athletes. That's because officials there ordered extermination of the dog.

This is great news for these 10 dogs,

However, what about 10 dogs here who may not now be adopted, and the approximately three million plus pets euthanized in America? Many of these animals are adoptable. Their only crime is they no one have volunteered to love them.

Certainly dodging exterminators in Sochi is no fun. Since February the 10 dogs have been cared for by PovoDog, a privately financed Sochi animal shelter that vaccinated and prepared them for the two-day trip to Washington. The Russian airline Aeroflot provided free airfare to the strays, says  Kelly O'Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for Humane Society International,explaining that the journey would have otherwise cost an average of $2,000 per dog. Again, this is wonderful. The publicity may even help other animals get adopted....However, with so many homeless adoptable animals dying in our country, I suggest we not get into the dog importation business.

In addition, several athletes returned home with dogs. I don't blame them - I would have done the same thing.

"For us, these dogs are wonderful ambassadors for the street-dog issue that exists around the world," says  O'Meara, She  adds that she is hopeful that Humane Society International can bring more strays in the future, noting that Aeroflot has promised to transport up to 100 dogs for free. I say leave those dogs in Russia. Perhaps, it's a horrible thing to say, and likely not a popular position to take, but worse, are the millions of animals languishing here. Sure, these animals are treated far better than those in Russia and may ultimately be euthanized humanely rather than means used by the Russians. Other nations have stray animals too, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Do we take from all these nations? I say we take from none of these nations until all of America's adoptable animals find homes.

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  • I'd love to see the international groups work on the causes of dog overpopulation and not just export the symptoms. Of course that means educating humans and that's a lot harder.

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