Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection    
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Autonomous non-profit organization
Center for Animal Welfare Legal Protection

What they wrote about the program Animals in the city, on the basis of which the neutering of stray dogs with subsequent release to their former habitats began.



Where the Dog Money has Gone
Svetlana Kolchik
Article in the paper Argumenty I Fakty (Arguments and Facts) N 2
dated July 2, 1998

      There are nearly 30 thousand stray dogs running about the city. The means to control the numbers of homeless animals remain primordially brutal. Once the dogs are caught, they are taken to stations of temporary stay, where they seek to survive in conditions of total insanitariness for a few days. If and when they succeed, the dogs are killed with a flying syringe, filled with a poison, whereupon the raw material comes to the Lyuberetsky plant for biological waste processing. The catching and disposal of a single animal costs the city budget around Rbls. 1000, the expenditure for the year totaling around Rbls. 11 million. They say that people engaged in this dirty business earn quite a penny. It is not always that the number of animals caught and surrendered for processing is monitored properly, therefore it is not uncommon that the money is paid for dead souls.
      Early in 1996, the Engineering Support Department of Moscow Government commissioned the Animals Relief Fund Sirin to draw up a municipal program Animals of the City (site editor note: the chief of VTK Animals in the City, who was in charge of the said program and responsible for purpose-oriented spending of the allocated budget money was Ilya Bluvstein (see photo above). At present, he is a voluntary assistant to Mr. I.Yu. Novitsky, Deputy of Moscow City Duma, supervising the work at the Moscow City Law on Animals. We have been unable to locate any reports on the Animals in the City program implementation. For all we know, such reports are inexistent. In February of 2005, at the initiative of Ilya Bluvstein,
two press-conferences were held, in which the Animals in the City program team participated. At the press-conferences, attempts were made to rehabilitate the sterilization program as well as to slander the official data on the extermination of the wild fauna by stray dogs. It is worthy of note that within the framework of the Animals in the City program an experiment was conducted in Marfino (Vladykino District), where a few years later virtually in that very place a woman died after being attacked by stray dogs, while around ten persons were hospitalized. Nevertheless, these new data failed to tarnish the otherwise laudatory statistics of the experiments, which was why it was ostensibly for the good of rescuing the sterilization program that the right conclusion was drawn at the press-conference that dogs do not present danger. This is indicative of the Marfino experiment results being highly unbiased and of the team being decent). The program might have included an analysis of the city fauna, a plan of setting up shelters for homeless animals and, whats more, a draft of more civilized legal regulations governing the keeping of animals in Moscow. The amount allocated for the program was quite impressive: Rbls. 300 million, VAT included, or $ 100,000 at the rate prevalent in January, 1996, considering that the total project cost was Rbls. 525 million.
      Two years and half has passed, as they say in a fairy-tale. Suddenly, at a meeting of Moscow City Duma dealing with ecological policy, they suddenly remembered about the program. It was then discovered that nobody had ever seen the program in a complete and agreed form. For example, Moscow Chief Veterinary Doctor Mikhail Kravchuk said that he was only familiar with some of the programs bits and pieces, in respect of which he had given his negative verdict. He said, however, that Moscow Veterinary Service was willing to control the population of homeless animals by a more humane method: not by killing through sterilization of feral bitches. There are enough experts in Moscow vet clinics who could perform these rather complex surgery operations. The only problem is lack of facilities, where the animals could be kept as they will come-to after operations.
      The Animals in the City program is said to have long been in existence, and a year ago, at an official ceremony, the program was handed over to the Department of Housing and Communal Services and Accomplishment (formerly, the Engineering Support Department). Unfortunately, nobody is aware of the programs further fate. Spokespersons of the Sirin Fund claim they received Rbls. 90,000, and after that they worked for a most modest pay. According to one of the versions, the rest of the money settled in the pocket of an unidentified highly-placed Moscow official..
      At the Moscow City Duma, apparently having decided that the money would hardly ever be located, they started to set up a centralized animal search service. Who knows, maybe someone will again be commissioned to elaborate a program, for which purpose again a neat amount will be allocated only to be forgotten, and in a few years, they will realize that he problem has been at a standstill. As the saying goes, while an official sleeps, the money keeps to be accumulated in his account. The snag being that the dogs keep multiplying.

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