The Ukrainska Pravda Zhitya newspaper reports on efforts at clearing the streets of stray dogs by extermination in preparation to stage the championship, being co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland, especially in the cities of Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv and Donetsk, all hosting next year’s tournament matches.
“The city of Lysychansk, in the [eastern] Luhansk region, has special equipment for cremating dogs,” said Vladimir Boreyko, head of the Kiev Environmental and Cultural Center.
According to data cited by Ukrainian animal rights activists, a mobile crematorium for exterminating animals, bought by the local government, has been operating in the Luhansk region for the past two years.
According to unconfirmed reports the dogs and cats are burnt, sometimes alive, in furnaces heated to 900 degrees Celsius. The dog-catchers manning the furnaces are additionally equipped with a gun to shoot animals.
The practice is said to be common across the region, as the device is lent out to neighbouring cities and districts.
Such extreme measures are in no way justified, as animal rights activists stress that the problem of stray dogs is far from critical and can be easily resolved by sterilization.
A special petition is now circulating on the Internet appealing to the Ukrainian authorities to stop practices of cremating animals. Over 300,000 signatures have been collected online so far.
As the paper writes there are also long-running practices of poisoning animals in Kiev with isoniazid, a cheap drug used for treating tuberculosis in humans, freely sold in pharmacies, and commonly referred to as “vitamins”.
The pills induce convulsions, vomiting in animals, leading to a painful death.
Ukrainska Pravda Zhitya newspaper reports a case of dog poisoning in the vicinity of the capital’s Botanical Garden where a hotel for the Euro 2012 championship was constructed following the “resolution of the problem of strays” inhabiting the site.
“About ten dogs died a horrible death in front of people,” said a local who witnessed the incident.
In Kharkiv and Kiev, plans have been made to open shelters for strays found in the vicinity of Euro 2012 stadiums ahead of the championship.
As the Ukrainian Television News Service reports, the UEFA paid out 9,000 euro to Ukraine towards the sterilization of stray dogs several months ago, yet the money have as yet been unaccounted for. (ab/pg)