If you haven’t heard about dog hunting yet, brace yourself. It’s an insane underground “sport” in Russia, in which hunters lay out traps filled with poisoned meat in parks to kill dogs.
In September, more than 70 dead dogs were poisoned in a week at a single park, as reported by The Star.
Moscow’s Green Lead Movement estimates that more than 1,500 stray and domestic dogs have been killed in the last few years, according to the Moscow Times.
Russia has notoriously lax animal protection laws and authorities who fail to prosecute. According to the Sun, only nine cases against dog hunters in Moscow have made it to court since 2011, with just one ending in a conviction.
Stray dogs are common in Russia, with estimates of more than 25,000 in Moscow alone. The dog hunters claim they are going after strays, but pets are being killed — and targeted — as well. The New York Times reported on a flier in a Moscow park that read: “If you don’t follow the rules of walking your dog — it will die.”
The dog hunters meet and trade tips online. “Dog hunting forums — the most well-known of which are Vreditelyam.net and Pest.net — are populated by those who call themselves “volunteers” and provide graphic photos of their trophy killings,” reports the Star. “The sites require extensive registration and identification processes for participants.”
“It’s a whole community,” said an event manager. “They write how they kill them, post photographs, tell you which poison is better and where to buy it.”
We can’t imagine. Apparently, those 70 dogs were killed by Amanita phalloides, aka the death cap mushroom.
Fortunately, change might be occurring, though not by the government — while the police opened an investigation after the September murders, it seems to have gone nowhere, as not a single person has been detained for the deaths of the more than 70 dogs.
Instead, the people are rising up against the dog hunters.
This weekend, hundreds of protesters came to a rally at Moscow’s New Pushkin Square to voice their anger. Many even brought their dogs, despite fears that dog hunters would target the area. The rally was organized by the Green Lead movement, according to the Moscow Times. Celebrated Russian actor and producer Leonid Yarmolnik spoke to the people. “People who kill their fellow creatures, they can’t call themselves human beings,” he said.
Let’s hope the public continues to rise up against this barbaric and insane sport, and the authorities begin track down and prosecute the killers. It is madness to allow it to continue.