Hell for cats and dogs in Surgut

Yulia Sazhneva. 20 May 2013. https://siapress.ru/blogs/24710-filial-ada-v-surgute-foto-18

Recently I visited the “shelter” (if such a word is appropriate in defining this situation) run by Mrs. Luneva. It is very difficult to decide where to start. Either to list my own states provoked by what I saw, or dryly and without unnecessary emotions to list the facts. Perhaps both.

Everything that eyewitnesses told about and what I managed to learn from various sources, on the eve of my visit to this “hell on earth” was confirmed and supplemented with new details. Unfortunately, neither photos, nor videos are able to convey the whole picture of what is happening there. The smell that densely surrounds the territory of the “shelter” is unbearable, fueled by rancid food, corpse fumes and fecal masses. What is called “enclosures” for keeping dogs, does not stand up to any criticism – rickety, rotten structures with no floor in them, dogs are forced to move in a mass consisting of their own excrement, dirt, rotting food and sometimes of the remains of their own kind.

Some animals are in critical condition. Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph a dog that was chewing off her own sore paw – I did not find the strength to approach her enclosure.

Attacks of nausea, tears, despair – these are just some of what you feel in this place. Balancing in a slurry of rubbish, mud and feces, you try to move from pen to pen.

Some animals are very lucky, they live outside the fenced area, there are quite healthy-looking individuals … Someone is chained to dilapidated booths, someone runs around freely. It is worse for those who are in fenced areas and even worse for those who are locked in metal beams – it is not known whether these animals have the opportunity to go out into the “fresh” air …. Dogs try to jump on the roofs of booths and mountains of garbage in order to somehow, for a short while, get out of the mess, from which, by the way, they also have to eat. 

Those who have dogs can imagine how these animals feel. Here and there on the ground, under heaps of old clothes and other garbage, we find the corpses of animals: dogs, cats, puppies, rats, crows … some corpses are dumped in a swamp, from which animals also drink.

Drinking water in a small amount is placed at the very entrance, and you do not see more than one bowl with it in the enclosures.  A huge amount of material aid, absolutely new and necessary, is piled up in heaps … Rotting pet food, pillows, blankets, building materials. 

According to the two men who were on the territory that day and distributed “food” to the enclosures, real help is needed, and it is they and Luneva who need help. Luneva herself was informed about our visit by phone, the film crew and I waited for her for more than two hours, but she never showed up. And I swear, I would like to talk to her even without cameras … I just cannot understand how everything could have come to such a state!

Many animals in open-air cages look like two peas in a pod, they breed right on the territory of the “shelter”. There are very few sterilized dogs. Males are housed with females, puppies with adults. Babies simply cannot compete with healthier and larger animals. Some are about to bring new offspring.

Dogs howl … around the corpses of their own kind – puppies, adults – it is unbearable for them to be there.

In one of the beams, through the lattice, we saw a cat sitting on the floor, together with dogs … it is impossible to convey the horror in the eyes of these animals. And even a hundred people will not be able to clean this dump … For eight years this hellish pile of rotting garbage has been replacing the soil in this place. In winter, the animals froze, according to the stories, last year they drowned alive in the spring, this year some of the enclosures were covered with sand by the builders, burying some of the animals in an instant. This is a terrible place …

For the first half hour, you will stubbornly refuse to believe that such a thing is happening in our prosperous and rich city, thirty steps from the church. I saw it for the first time, but as it turned out, many knew about it for a long time. About 15 people gathered. It was not possible to collect more. We could not openly announce this meeting, we were afraid that Luneva and local workers would try to hide the dead or simply do everything to keep us out. But it seems to me now that it is simply impossible to hide such an area of despair and pain, as well as to get rid of all the bodies.

I anticipate your questions about what to do next. Fight. But not against Luneva, but for the life of these animals. The city allocate about 10 million rubles annually for shooting dogs, many people donate money and provide real help. So can’t you and I, the whole city, all those who love animals, be able to help them? We must turn to officials, to the city veterinary service, to people who have experience in helping animals, to ask for help … We can build a city shelter – I believe in this.

We are one of the richest regions. The city is growing. There are also more animals. And many of them get lost, get into trouble. We need a new system of caring for them. Is catching and killing a solution? Many can and should be given a chance. A chance for a new life and love! We strive for European standards of living, but we take from this only the element of consumption, and not the issues of humanity and responsibility in relation to weaker kind. Can’t we correct these terrible consequences created by Mrs. Luneva’s “love” for animals?