President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin
address: Staraya ploschad 4 Moscow 103132 Russia
Governor of St.Petersburg Valentina Matvienko
address: Smolny St.Petersburg 191060
Vice-governor of St.Petersburg Lyudmila Kostkina (she is responsible for Policy on Stray Animals in St. Petersburg)
address: Smolny St.Petersburg 191060
Dear Mr. President!
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.
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