The moral health and maturity of a society is judged by
how it treats its underprivileged and weak: old people, children, disabled
and animals. As you undoubtedly know, there is no Federal Act to protect
animals from cruelty in Russia. Extermination is today the only official
way of dealing with stray animals practiced by the government of the majority
of Russian cities and towns. We, the undersigned, are appalled by the cruel
methods used to control stray animals and insist that the authorities cease
all poisonings of dogs and cats forthwith.
In St. Petersburg, your native city, authorities are exterminating street
animals - both strays and not - with utmost cruelty. The effort is administered
by Spetstrans, a government-run unitary company. Spetstrans staffers exterminate
street animals on the spot using dithylinum (succinyl choline), a powerful
curare type poison banned everywhere in the civilized world. Dithylinum
paralyzes the respiratory system, so the animal dies slowly and silently
of asphyxiation, experiencing great suffering and agony, which may last
up to an hour.
After many years of fighting cruelty towards animals, animal rights activists
in September 2005 finally convinced St. Petersburg City Hall to adopt a
Policy on Stray Animals in St. Petersburg, replacing extermination with
more humane control methods such as sterilization, pounds, and returning
animals to their former habitats after social adaptation. But the Policy
exists on paper only.
In January the governor of St.Petersburg Valentina Matvienko promised to
the citizents that from the 1st of July the city authorities would stop
exterminating street animals. Nevertheless they go on killing.
Thus on the 28th of August in the St.Petersburg State University campus
in Stary Petergoff butchers from Spetstrans killed with dithylinum a group
of nice socially trained dogs. They never showed the slightest aggression.
Students and professors loved them. But some officials don't like dogs.
So the administration of the University had invited Spetstrans. Along with
these dogs a four-years-old beloved pet Chunya who was walking with her
owner Svetlana Travkina was killed before Svetlana's eyes. Chunya died from
asphyxiation in fifteen minutes in Svetlana's hands. Dear Mr. President,
also you have got a beloved dog!
There is not a single open admission shelter in St.Petersburg, a city of
five million, there is no place to bring strays. A new pound at Bolshoi
Smolensky Prospekt doesn't adopt strays though it's almost empty.
Those officials in whose hands the destiny of homeless animals was placed
by law, such as the head of Veterinary Authority Yuri Andreev and the deputy
chief Ali Aliev, treat them, as "dangerous biological waste,"
to quote their official communications. They insist that they will not allow
the return of sterilized animals to their former habitats after social adaptation.
In St. Petersburg, officials are motivated to kill animals because the city
pays them huge amount of money to do it. It is also in their interest to
have animals to kill. In other cities across Russia, homeless animals are
even worse off than in St. Petersburg. Russia absolutely needs a federal
act to protect animals from cruelty. But even more than that we need our
officials to abide by the laws that already exist.
Please, stop the genocide of strays in St.Petersburg and in Russia in general.
Please, punish the guilty of it.
We believe that a humane method of neutering and spaying should be made
law, in order to control the dog and cat population. We also believe that
the authorities should build open admission shelters to home unwanted and
stray animals, as they have promised.