The Cal Poly Cat Program helps manage feral or stray cats on campus.
Special to Mustang News
Hundreds of stray animals, dogs in particular, were killed in Sochi, Russia to make way for the Winter Olympics, The New York Times reported earlier this month .
Weighing in on the dog killings in Sochi, Eric Anderson, San Luis Obispo Animal Services manager, said it’s not an uncommon practice in underdeveloped areas.
“But it is certainly not the way we go about doing things here,” he said.
Although San Luis Obispo Animal Services does not get many calls from Cal Poly regarding stray animals, Anderson said there’s a process Animal Services goes through when they do come across one.
First, the stray animal is taken to a shelter off U.S. Highway 1 and the owner has four days to pick up their animal. If the owner does not come, then the animal will be placed for adoption.
If the animal shows signs of aggression, Animal Services will see if the issues are medically treatable or manageable. If they are, the animal will still be eligible for adoption. If not, Anderson said the animal could be euthanized.
Authorities in Russia reported that the dogs are wild and dangerous. A pest control company was hired by the Russian government to slaughter these animals. In the last few months, Sochi residents saw dogs shot with poison darts and then tossed into a truck, according to The New York Times.
Edie Griffin-Shaw, co-director of the Cal Poly Cat Program, said there are other ways the government could go about taking care of these dogs.
“I just heard this morning on NPR, they built out that huge area and it was a national forest,” Griffin-Shaw said. “They have displaced bears and panthers and all the wild animals in that area. I personally don’t believe in poisoning — they should have been able to trap the animals humanely before that.”
When the Cal Poly Cat Program first started, trapping animals was one way the directors limited stray animals from coming onto campus. Sometimes they would find foxes in their traps, and would release them back into the wild, Griffin-Shaw said.
At the Cal Poly Cat Program, Griffin-Shaw said not all cats want to be social, and some cats are so feral they will never become friendly.
“A lot of them don’t want to interact with humans, but we want them to stay healthy,” Griffin-Shaw said. “We have cats on campus who are doing their job, taking care of the rodent population.”
As for the stray dogs in Sochi, The New York Times also reported that a dog shelter backed by a Russian billionaire has been driving around the Olympic grounds to pick up dogs and deliver them to an animal shelter on the outskirts of the city.