Vier Pfoten sees a new era for animals in Ukraine; locals are doubtful

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2012:

Vier Pfoten sees a new era for animals in Ukraine; locals are doubtful
KIEV–Spain took home the Euro 2012 football championship trophy, but the biggest winners, hopes Helmut Dungler, chief executive of the Austrian-based animal charity Vier Pfoten, are more than 4,000 street dogs in Kiev, Lviv, Donetsk, and Zaporozhye whom Vier Pfoten has sterilized, vaccinated, and treated for any evident illnesses or injuries, with the help of local organizations and volunteers. “Both our stray dog neutering program and our bear rescue project,” which recovered four bears from illegal private possession, “will continue,” Dungler pledged. “Traditionally in Ukraine, preparation for large-scale cultural and sporting events is accompanied by massive destruction of animals. Tens of thousands of homeless animals were killed in the name of Euro 2012,” said Tamara Tarnovska, founder of the Kiev animal charity SOS Animals Ukraine. Responding to international exposure mobilized by the British animal charity Naturewatch in response to the reported killings, Ukrainian environment minister Mykola Zlochevskiy in November 2011 pledged a moratorium on killing dogs. Following up, Dungler on February 4, 2012 signed an agreement with Zlochevskiy to do high-volume dog sterilization in the Euro 2012 host cities, if those cities would each individually agree to stop killing street dogs. Kiev, Lviv, Donetsk, and Zaporozhye signed contracts with Vier Pfoten, modeled on contracts that Vier Pfoten has used in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania for more than a decade, but Kharkov “wanted to alter the content of the agreement substantially,” Vier Pfoten posted on June 19, 2012. “For Vier Pfoten the changes meant that the project could not be implemented properly, and there was also no clear commitment by the authorities to stop the dog killing.” Tarnovska was not surprised–and expects worse, she e-mailed to ANIMAL PEOPLE. “Kiev officials are happy to watch the Vier Pfoten veterinarians and rub their hands,” Tarnovska asserted. “While foreigners do the work that the cities are supposed to do, Kiev officials trim the city budget and convince western Europe that they are solving the stray animal problem by humane methods. There is fresh confirmation of some cases of poisoning of animals after the sterilizations done by Vier Pfoten,” Tarnovska alleged. “The Kiev authorities do not respond to complaints about these cases of animals being poisoned after sterilization. It should be noted,” Tarnovska finished, “that the existence of homeless animals has for many years been feeding Ukrainian officials at various levels, because a lot of money from city budgets is allocated annually for so-called humane solutions. However, the funds are mainly spent not on the problems of animals, but are instead divided among corrupt officials. There is little left for animals.” As to what happened in Kharkov, Steps Centre chair Igor Parfenov told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “On June, 13 there was the opening of the first city shelter for homeless animals in Kharkov. The shelter was built with $3.2 million of city money. Each year the shelter will get from the city $750,000. The shelter adoption display area has space for 50 cats and 100 dogs, plus a quarantine area for 500 dogs. Dogs will be kept at the shelter for seven days, then be killed. The city expects to kill 400-500 dogs per month. By the end of the year the number will increase to 1,000 dogs per month.”
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