Elena’s report October 2007

In September 2005, after some arduous work of the animal protection groups in St Petersburg, a new legislation was founded. The new law states that stray animals are to be treated humanely and that there is to be no more slaughtering of strays; instead they are to be spayed and neutered and put back into the same areas where they were picked up. Head of the veterinary department had to establish a special division working with this issue. Because neither private nor employed by the state vets are keen to go out into the streets chasing stray animals, the issue was soon transferred to animal protection groups.

Throughout the year 2006, Elena’s bus was used for catching, spaying and neutering strays. Also Spectrans; a private company that was formed out of the public cleansing department, now commercially run, were employed to do this. But instead they slaughtered dogs – even dogs that were already spayed and neutered. On TV people have reported of Spectran workers killing animals; upset and crying people who fed the dogs and cared for them have told their stories on television. Articles in the newspapers have been published on this matter. A demonstration against Spectrans was carried out in the main street, Nevskij Prospect.

These things have resulted in better control of Spectrans’ activities and they have been ordered to spay and neuter, not kill animals. They have also been ordered to build a house in which to keep animals recuperating from surgery.

Most importantly though; it has not been possible to make people from the veterinary department do the work of collecting strays; despite the fact that Elena received a letter from the head of the “planning and beautifying board” that he considers this to be purposeful. When Elena read this letter in public on national television, it resulted in his losing his job, and Spectrans receiving more money. Spectrans then started using sleeping drugs, Zolotil.

The subsidies for the year 2007 have been divided in a bizarre way.

Spaying and neutering campaigns were given 2 million roubles; for performing surgery on three thousand dogs. This has been achieved - it is costly and highly qualified work, demanding skilled personnel. On the other hand 17 million roubles were given for the catching of strays; not in any way highly qualified work. Organized in the right way, the money would be adequate. But no one knows where the money is! The house built for the aftercare was so cold last year that many animals froze to death.

A building for surgery has been built by the veterinary department. Two mini buses have been purchased, one for dogs. Vets performing these duties are so badly underpaid that only real enthusiast will do it. After the spaying and neutering, animals are tattooed in the ear and vaccinated. Every animal has one special person whose duty it is to look after them.

During this surgery no stitches are used so animals are put back into the streets only hours afterwards. Spectrans are supposed to catch wild animals and Elenas group to catch domestic animals. In reality this does not work because Spectrans still slaughter animals to order, because they are paid by private interests to do so.

Last February, Elena received a call where she was told there would be a massacre in Petergof, a small village outside St Petersburg. The massacre was initiated by the politicians of Petergof. Elena went there with a television team, who filmed the whole thing. First they shot the animals with Solotil only, but when the TV team left, the killings escalated and now they were using Ditilin; a paralyzing substance that makes the animal suffocate as the lungs stop functioning… When Elena tried to stop the slaughtering by Spectran workers, a city official called in the police. But the police arrested Spectran workers, not Elena, because the cruel killings were against the law! Elena was even able to get hold of one of the bodies to be used as evidence. She submitted the body for a post mortem and traces of Ditilin was found.

At first the police authorities would not have anything to do with the matter. Only after the prosecution office was brought in and the whole thing broadcast on TV and in other media was the case given any attention. Elena has received no support from the magistrate; he told her she would lose this case and that dogs had to be killed. The case has not yet reached the courts. At the same time attempts have been made to sue Elena for defamation. She has also been reported to obstruct the work of Spectrans staff, in their slaughtering campaigns. It is now in the hands of the law and the case will come up in courts around November 10.

Here are some other animal cruelty cases.

Many cases of animal cruelty have been brought to the courts but it is unlikely they will go any further. The case with the Korean restaurant has been dropped. For many years Elena has been collecting evidence against a Korean woman who uses dogs as food at her restaurant. It has been very difficult to get the authorities interested in this case. The Korean woman has admitted to using dog meat, she had a dog farm behind the restaurant before whereas now she does this to order from other Chinese and Korean people.

A seventy year old woman found a beautiful puppy; Elena took pictures of it and was trying to find a home for it. The old lady was attacked one day whilst walking the puppy; the puppy was stolen and sold to the Korean woman, who slaughtered and prepared it as a meal… Elena went to the Korean woman accompanied by a policeman, but found no dog. The Korean woman told them the puppy had been slaughtered and started telling them how she had prepared it… Elena feels terrible over the whole thing. At least she found some other dogs at the Korean woman’s place that she could rescue…

Kudrjashkas story;

Elena received a call from a factory in Izhorskaja where some guards were told to have been shooting at a dog that lived close by. Many people at the factory liked and cared for the dog. One cold day Elena went there; it was 20 degrees below freezing. The factory compound is gigantic and she was not let in. Along with two other women she trudged for two kilometres in strong head wind over the fields. At last they found the bleeding dog, put her on a heavy cart and brought her all the way back to the factory entrance. Elena drove through town to a veterinary clinic where 17 pieces of buck shots were found in the dog… She was named Kudrjashka and is now well and lives in Finland. A formal complaint was made to the police but not surprisingly; no one has been found guilty. Elena will never forget this day.

Exporting dogs to other countries?

Middle-size mixed breeds are not popular in Russia, but sometimes Elena manages to rehome them in Finland or in Germany. Her question to us is; can we help her find new contacts in her efforts in finding homes for dogs abroad? All dogs are of course vaccinated, it is quite costly but necessary. Pictures of the dogs as well as some information about each dog is presented on the Internet, money is raised that way. Elena is very grateful to Alexandra, whose initiative it was to buy her a digital camera.

Mailing address to Elena: bobelon@yandex.ru

N.B.! Elena needs new heads for the cutting machines, OSTER, that we gave to her earlier. The old ones are blunted after frequent use.