They don’t only take the ones that no one will look for, the invisible ones slinking in the streets, begging for food and huddling close to each other for warmth. Sometimes, they take cherished pets, grabbing them through the bars of garden fences, or yanking at their leashes when they’re tied outside bakeries.
They steal kittens when they are left in the apparent safety of their temporary street home by a mother, constantly searching for food. They steal puppies when they are starting to trust them by feeding them kitchen scraps and cooing false words.
They tie their mouths shut with cooking string, with metal wire. Sometimes the animals scream and thrash so much they have to cover their heads and scratching claws with socks and rice bags. They hold them tight over their thick winter coats that not even the most desperate can puncture.
They cut their ears and their toes and their tails. They do it with scissors and shears and knives. They rip and pull and twist to make the wound look worse, to make the puppy howl in confusion. And when they’re done and the blood is soaking into the cold ground, they uncover their heads and watch them as they pant, exhausted in shock and pain and unable to move.
They take a photo with their smartphones, and then send it to everyone they know. They send it to the high school chat group, to those girls in 5B who will forward it to her snotty friends for sure. And they name a price. Any price. Because they know that that at least one girl will gasp when she sees the photo. They know she’ll write back.
They know that one of their so-called friends will bend under the thrill of being, suddenly and unexpectedly, in control of a poor little animal’s life. That tiny sweet baby that has been tortured and is already half dead. They know that they will get the money, because the pressure will be too strong and the price isn’t that high, after all.
They will smirk when those stupid snobs arrive, hands wrapped tightly around a tiny envelope with whatever amount they have managed to collect in the little time they gave them before they said the puppy would be killed in the most horrific way. Maybe, they’ll come with a friend, but no one too intimidating because they’ve been told, as is true, that the kitten will be held at knifepoint until the money is in their hands.
They’ll drink the alcohol they bought illegally with the money they earned immorally from the latest fashion in Russia’s teenagers: flash ransoming animals to get quick money.
It must stop.
How can we help?
Through public condemnation, through awareness, Humane Education programs and, ultimately, through stronger animal cruelty laws and “trap-neuter-return” programs that will slowly but surely stop the breeding of stray animals in Russia and their routine abuse. This is an atrocious new trend that we need to address immediately and nip at the bud.
How can you help?
As always, liking our Facebook page and sharing is the easiest, fastest and most efficient way of spreading the word. Are you part of a volunteer group that works with Russian children, or an animal activist group that could be interested? Please share this article in any and every virtual square that could raise awareness.
You can also donate. Our team, that consists solely of unpaid volunteers, works hard with only one objective: to help Russia’s animals. Any amount that you wish to donate can help us print leaflets, pay for someone to present talks in schools, attend council meetings and start an efficient “trap-neuter-release” program.