Two thousand stray animals were slated for extermination in Sochi prior to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, but it looks as though many more dogs may have become culling victims.
According to Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for Humane Society International via NY Daily News, over 5,000 dogs “may have already been killed.”
However, official estimates still remain unknown as Sochi’s city government has yet to release them.
Russian volunteers and animal lovers from all over the world are scrambling to save as many of Sochi’s stray dogs as possible. Some of these dogs have ended up in Sochi’s first shelter funded by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska and a number of them have been smuggled out of town by caring citizens wanting to give the dogs a second chance.
Other dogs are now in the process of being adopted by Olympic visitors, and even U.S. Olympian Gus Kenworthy, a freeskier from Telluride, Colo. and recent silver medal winner, has decided to partake in rescue efforts, adopting four of Sochi’s stray pups and their mother himself.
Kenworthy recently posted photos on his Twitter showing off his new adorable companions. Can you say, “Awww!”
And no, these photos aren’t fake or PR gimmick photo-ops. Kenworthy is completely serious about adoption and can’t wait to take them home with him once the Olympics come to a close!
What a kind heart! Kenworthy is a true Olympian in our book! Hopefully his act of compassion will inspire others to take part in helping Sochi’s strays and other homeless pets around the world (remember — we have so many in need of loving homes right in the States, too!)
Want to help Sochi’s strays? Find out how right here! (And, yes, you can adopt one as well!)
Lead image source: Gus Kenworthy / Twitter