As part of our ongoing commitment to raise awareness about animal rescue efforts of those who are “in the trenches” fighting the wars against animal cruelty, we wanted to share this particular story with our community. We came across this awesome person, Kira, of NY Tails (http://www.nytails.com/), a dog walking/pet sitting service in Manhattan. Kira is an avid dog-rescue volunteer and runs a top-rated dog walking business in the area. After becoming a customer with Gemma Rose, we both wanted to find out more about how we could help one another in our common goal of making the world a better place for animals all over. Not long after our initial conversations, we learned that Kira was working with an organization based out of Kazakhstan, her birth country. The organization is called “Project Dobriy Gorod” which translates to ‘Kind City’ (https://www.facebook.com/proekt.dobryi.gorod/). She shared with us a major crisis that is going on in Kazakhstan in this very moment.
Before we dive into the animal welfare crisis itself, we wanted to share some background on Kazakhstan itself. Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia and is A LOT larger of a country than we originally thought:
The total population of Kazakhstan (based on 2015 consensus) is 17.54 million. It’s the 9th largest country in the world with an area of 2,724,900 kilometers, rich in oil/gas with vast mineral resources. The official languages of Kazakhstan are Kazakh & Russian. (Wikipedia).
In order to give you a first hand account of the situation in Kazakhstan, we asked a number of questions to the boots on the ground fighting this very issue:
Gemma Rose Project: Tell us what is going on in Kazakhstan.
Project Dobriy Gorod: At this very present time, animal cruelty is at an all-time high, especially in Almaty, which is the former capital of Kazakhstan. Project Dobriy Gorod is working with the Public Council of Almaty and making every single effort to change the current situation. The stray animal isolation facility is horrible (like a jail with no food or water for stray animals). We, people that love animals, want justice for these animals, and to change the situation in an isolator. Very recently, a husky dog was LEFT in a stray dog collection vehicle when it was +30 C and died without air.
Gemma Rose Project: What is the state of animal welfare in KZ?
Project Dobriy Gorod: Extremely Bad. Stray animals get killed in all cities of Kazakhstan. At first, they get caught by stray animals isolator cruel workers using a lasso made of fishing line that breaks through the skin and sometimes the necks of the dogs. The dogs then sit in cages for only 3 days without food and water or air conditioning. After that, these dogs and cats get killed with Lysthenon (not appropriate for euthanasia).
Gemma Rose Project: Can you share some stories of the reality of animal welfare?
Project Dobriy Gorod: A husky named Umka has been stolen from a 19 year old girl, Asem, by employee of stray animals isolator in Almaty. A guy named Ilya Kamazayev wanted to re-sell Umka to another person )(possibly to be eaten) and put her into the car trunk. It was +30 C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) on the morning of the 23rd of May, 2017 (Tuesday). Volunteers (who came to take animals out of the isolator) heard the breathing and scratching in a trunk requested to open it. Ilya refused. After 1 or 2 hours he opened it, but Umka has already died. At first, he claimed to volunteers and police that he’s the owner, but within 24 hours, thanks to social media (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), the real owner has been found. Now 2 advocates are hired (one for Asem and another for Anna, volunteer who found the husky) and are working on that case. Ilya Kamazayev, manager Marat Zhunussov and isolator director Salavat Bektemissov have been fired. Right now there’s temporary director Serik Zhaksabayev and we hope that he can change the situation. We also hope that police will finish the investigation soon and Ilya will be sent to prison and all that story will prevent animal cruelty in Almaty isolator. The full story can be read on the petition website: Kazakhstan Petition. We are trying to bring as much attention to this particular story as possible.
Gemma Rose Project: What needs to be changed?
Project Dobriy Gorod: We want to stop animal cruelty in Kazakhstan. A new (animal control) center will be built in 2018, and State Program of Sterilisation will continue in 2018 and 2019 – that’s good, but we want to change situation NOW. We want normal euthanasia for animals, not burial of paralyzed animals.
Gemma Rose Project: How are you and your organization currently fighting these conditions?
Project Dobriy Gorod: We work with State Department of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the chain is the following: Government – > akimat of Almaty – > Dept.of Agriculture -> Stray animals isolator) in order to change the situation since February, 2017. We provided a master-class on humanitarian methods of catching (with no harm to animals); we made a list of Recommendations, we work with journalists and local media and talk about current problems; we are working on new Rules for catching the stray animals; we made an agreement that Dept.of Agriculture will build new center for stray animals based on international standards (will be ready in the middle of 2018); we have initiated the State Program of sterilization (free for Almaty citizens, unlimited quantity of dogs and cats).
Gemma Rose Project: How can people from other parts of the world (ie. US) help your cause and fight for better treatment of animal welfare?
Project Dobriy Gorod: People from other parts of the world (US, Europe) can help us to spread the word about animal cruelty in Kazakhstan and we hope that our Goverment, akimat and Dept.of Agriculture will realize that it’s the 21st century and there shall be no place for animal cruelty.
In speaking further with Kira, we found that she has started a petition which has over 40,000 signatures already. IF you are reading this, please go and read the full story and sign the petition here: Sign the Petition.
Making a difference starts with bringing awareness and sharing stories like this with the world. As Project Dobriy mentions, this is the 21st century. There is no room in this world for animal cruelty any longer. Please sign the petition and share this story. Clicking a simple share on your facebook page to spread the word, goes a long way and will force the Kazakhstan government into fixing these terrible conditions for stray animals in Kazakhstan. With the power of unity and technology, together we can help force a positive influence on animal treatment across the world.