The plight of Moscow's stray dogs

There are tens of thousands of stray dogs on the streets of Moscow. Hanging around building sites and subways, they're rarely aggressive, although attacks don't go unheard of. No doubt it's pretty scary when you walk down an empty street at night and suddenly a pack of dogs appears around the corner.

These homeless hounds are considered a problem by the Moscow authorities, who have promised to sterilise and tag them, and say they have even built a number of dog shelters. On paper it looks quite good. But animal rights activists claim that the reality is much gloomier.


A pack of dogs causes havoc on a busy main road


Video posted on Rutube

"Who gave the command to capture 35,000 stray dogs [...] and send them to just four unfinished shelters?"

Inna Alekseevna Unanyan is the chairman of Interregional Council of Stray Animal Custodians.

The situation with stray animals in Moscow is tragic, and not just for the animals, but for people as well. People believed the authorities when they issued a resolution on humane regulation of animal numbers in 2002. They promised not to kill the dogs. We activists got involved in the programme. We sterilised, fostered and made the dogs better – all by ourselves. We waited for the government to fulfill its promises.
Finally, a year ago, the government decided to build 15 shelters. But for now only four of the shelters have been built, and even those are unfinished. They don't have water or electricity; they've had no funding since last June. But the government still brings dogs there from all around Moscow. It's not only that the dogs don't receive professional care, they do not receive any medical treatment or even food! They are kept in cages and never let out to run. Sometimes they don't even get any water. Dogs die in these shelters.

It's a betrayal, betrayal of people who believed the government's promises and for the past six years looked after the stray animals themselves. And now, the government's ordered for all of the dogs to be captured. Right in front of people who have fostered the animals, they are grabbed and taken to shelters, where they die.

Moreover, among these 15 shelters there are some with a planned capacity for between 4,000 and 6,500 dogs. It's sheer madness. Many people, including some prominent Moscow artists, have protested against that. We explained that such a crowding is cruel, that shelters shouldn't accommodate more than 300 dogs. We ask, who gives these orders? Who gave the command to capture 35,000 stray dogs in the streets of Moscow and send them to just four unfinished shelters? Several NGOs filed a lawsuit against Kozhuhovo shelter which accommodes 700 dogs which are underfed and kept in cages 24 hours a day. Some dogs there have died, the others are kept alive only because of volunteers. Some dogs just disappear from the shelters. Our organisation registered a number of cases when dogs in Moscow were shot. We even have bullets, extracted from wounded dogs in vets' clinics. We tell the government about these cases, but the government does nothing about it."

Illegal capturing of stray dogs

Video posted on Rutube

July2008. Video by Center for Animal Rights “Vita”. Capture takes place at 1 minute 40 of the video.

Dog rescue

Video posted on Rutube

Volunteers are trying to save dogs from Yauza – a Moscow river. Workers of the city's emergency services (in blue jumpsuits) are not much help.

Animal rights activists' protest


A recent Moscow demonstration(just before the New Year)protested the way Moscow treats stray dogs.



Does any one know any

Does any one know any organizations in Moscow (maybe websites) that have active support for stray dogs and shelters?

Thank God

For those who care...!

These people are fighting

These people are fighting for the rights of these dogs, in this day and age there is no need what so ever for this type of Cruelty, more shelters are needed, more neutering, spaying, is needed as recommended by The World Health Org, this is the only way to cure the stray problem ,yes it takes time, but it does work ,good luck to those that are fighting for the dogs

Thank you to the people who care

I have often thought about how hard it is to know what happens in Russia, how many animals die for vain Russian womens fur coats etc (Read-Hags) But I cannot say how good it is to see people who care and make an effort to make life a little bit nicer for the innocent animals there.

As for the government being hypocrites, it is a global issue. People in power didnt get there by being nice to the vulnerable. The get there by selling their souls to corporate entities and by being single mindedly focussed upon one thing: Money.

So thank you to the Russian volunteers, from my heart, and to the Russian authorities-we know you are not fufulling your responsibilities. You know it too, but only you can change your cities streets from a nightmare of starvation and desperation into a place you can be proud of, and our innocent four legged friends can live without undue persecution and mistreatment. Maybe a few more of them can be on day loved, like they deserve to be. AaronC

dogs in water

What happened to the dogs in the water.. were they rescued ?

Yes, they finally were

Yes, they finally were rescued. A volunteer swam after them and put them into a row-boat, being bitten in the process.

stray dogs

Well done to all the people who protested ,

" Moreover, among these 15 shelters there are some with a planned capacity for between 4,000 and 6,500 dogs. It's sheer madness " ..This is not only madness it is downright cruel .. Disease will undoubtably become rife under these conditions, and the dogs will suffer , smaller better regulated shelters please .
I hope that the people will keep up this fight for better care and conditions for these dogs .
Thank you
A.Sims ( UK )