Since early morning, several dozen protesters gathered near the Kharkiv city council to prevent the deputies from adopting the program of the stray animals euthanizing all over the city.
At today’s session, the city council deputies were going to vote for allocating funds for extending the program “to monitor the number of stray animals.”
However, deputy of Samopomich party Natalia Kovalenko states that this program has triggered real extermination instead of monitoring: only for the past four years of the program’s implementation, over 60,000 stray dogs and cats were caught and brought to the Center for Animals Treatment municipal enterprise. As a result, 95 percent of them were euthanized and only 5 percent of the animals were adopted.
The activists are sure that director of Department of Housing of Kharkiv city council Roman Nekhoroshkov, who had developed the program, has been “laundering money from the budget” as euthanizing stray animals is more profitable than gelding them and taking care of them. “The enterprise also makes money out of the disposal of dead animals,” they add.
“Therefore, the Center has become a real slaughterhouse, whilst Kharkiv needs an animal shelter,” the activists state.
During the session of the city council, Natalia Kovalenko drew the deputies’ attention to the brutal policy of the Kharkiv city officials to homeless animals. According to her, the Center’s financial statements were non-transparent and its funding is increasing every year. In 2017, it got 16 million UAH (about $ 582,000) from the budget and 23 million UAH (about $ 836,000) are going to be allocated in 2018.
Despite activists’ and some deputies’ struggle, the majority of Kharkiv city council deputies voted for extending the infamous program for 2018-2022.
The activists say they are not going to give up and will continue to monitor the questionable program’s implementation and expenditure of budget money.
Text, photo: Olena Sokolynska