Sochi Olympic Park’s condemned stray dogs ‘saved by Russian billionaire’
Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s richest men, says he decided to fund a new dog shelter after remembering his own pet dog that was adopted as a stray
Condemned to death at the hands of a private extermination company, around 150 of the stray dogs from Sochi’s Olympic Park have been saved after the intervention of a Russian billionaire.
One of Russia’s richest men, Oleg Deripaska has spoken out for the first time about why he decided to fund a quickly-assembled dog shelter in the hills above the site of Sochi 2014.
“My first dog I found in the street of my village, the tiny village [where I grew up],” Mr Deripaska told the BBC. “It was a very close friend for almost five years.”
Sochi’s city hall had previously dropped plans to “dispose of” more than 2,000 dogs and cats who roamed the Olympic Park building site, fed and affectionately looked after by its workers.
When they moved on, however, the authorities say the hungry animals became homeless pests, and in the build-up to last week’s opening ceremony reneged on their decision to save them.
Following widespread media reports and a Facebook campaign, Mr Deripaska was moved to intervene, and arranged for a team of animal welfare charity workers to recue as many as they could.
Shelter coordinator Olga Melnikova last week told the New York Times: “We were told, ‘Either you take all the dogs from the Olympic Village or we will shoot them’.”
Oleg Deripaska, the chief executive of the world's largest aluminium company, was moved to set up a shelter for the strays Around 140 of the animals have so far been saved from the cull, and a number have been successfully rehomed.
Many animals could not be saved. Last week, what appeared to be the final straw came when one stray got into the main Olympic stadium during a rehearsal of the opening ceremony.
Alexei Sorokin, the director of the company tasked with “catching and disposing of” the dogs, described the animals as “ biological trash” and said that Sochi has “an epidemic of rabies”.
“I am for the right of people to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by packs of dogs,” he said.
Mr Deripaska was the subject of headlines in the UK in 2008 when he was embroiled in the so-called “yachtgate” scandal between Lord Mandelson and the then-shadow chancellor George Osborne.
The billionaire later said he had considered “severing ties with Britain” after the political row following a party on his yacht, which left the peer denying doing “any favours” for him, and Mr Osborne denying making attempts to solicit a donation to the Conservative Party.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...