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“Cleaning Up” Before the World Cup

By Susan Rosenberg, Director of International Animal Programs

You may remember that just before the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi officials ordered the “clean up” of all visible street dogs. What they really meant was “murder them!” Most of the dogs poisoned were left to die a painful death, and their bodies found by passersby. They tried to do this quietly but once the Olympians and tourists began to arrive, it became apparent that the word got out. Then it hit the airwaves. A few of the athletes even got involved and flew dogs and puppies home with them.

What most people don’t know, there was some work being done to help the dogs ahead of the Olympics to help save the dogs from the streets of Sochi. Some good people in Sochi improvised a dog shelter and did what they could for as many dogs as they could save. Then this happened:

Meet Anna Umansky

Anna Umansky

In February 2014, Anna and her mother Tanya had no intentions of starting a rescue nor did they have any experience rescuing dogs. It all started when news came out about dogs killed in preparation for the Olympics. The Boston Globe ran a story about a makeshift shelter that was started to rescue these dogs. A lot of people were outraged and wanted to help, but there was no easy way of doing so.

So Anna reached out to David Filipov who wrote the story and asked if he could share the contact information for the shelter. That night she also drafted a crowdfunding campaign for the shelter and the next day Tanya reached out to the organizers of the shelter and asked their permission to launch the campaign on their behalf. It went live just as the Opening Ceremony started airing on NBC. Lots of people donated, sent emails and wanted to help, so the shelter was able to take in more dogs, get them vaccinated, spayed and figure it out one day at a time.

The first dogs from the shelter went home in April 2014 to Texas and California, and they’ve been growing the rescue ever since.

from Anna:

“At the end of the day, it was really all about us seeing a problem and realizing that between the two of us we had the skills to do something about it. I work in communications and digital media and my mother Tanya is a programmer and grew up in Moscow.

With the help of GreaterGood.org and our many caring donors, we’ve been supporting the Friends of Sochi Dogs shelter ever since. Now, fast forward to 2018, here we go again. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is coming to Sochi, Russia, and officials are “cleaning up” the streets of stray and abandoned dogs.

We simply cannot allow them to kill any more dogs in and around Sochi.

You can help. Click here to end the killings and get these innocent pups to safety! 

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by susanrosenberg, March 30, 2018