RUSSIA/UKRAINE: BANNED IN MANY WESTERN COUNTRIES, DOG FIGHTING IS BOOMING IN RUSSIA AND UKRAINERecord ID: 851903
- Title: RUSSIA/UKRAINE: BANNED IN MANY WESTERN COUNTRIES, DOG FIGHTING IS BOOMING IN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE
- Date: 28th May 2001
- Summary: LVIV, UKRAINE (MAY 28, 2001) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) GV YURI, DOGBREEDER TRAINING DOG CALLED "RAY" SVS DOGS IN CAGE SV SOUNDBITE (Ukrainian) YURI, FIGHTING DOG BREEDER SAYING: "You can ban dog fights on paper only. They tried to do this in the United States, Germany, Hungary, and other parts of Europe but on paper only. All fights moved underground. It is like prostitution, they think about legalising it in many countries now. It is impossible to put it under control. Ukraine has many other problems, more serious than dogs fighting."
- Embargoed: 12th June 2001 13:00
- Location: LVIV AND IVANO-FRANKIVSK, UKRAINE AND UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
- Country: Russian Federation Ukraine
- Topics: Crime,Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA8HTS2JAF3AW8UVKK0MSLDDQ0M
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Dog fighting is arguably one of the cruellest blood sports around. It has been banned in many Western countries where the illegal fights have been forced underground.
In Ukraine and Russia, there is no legislation banning fights and the dog fight business is booming.
As two pitbull terriers tear each other apart, the crowd, indifferent to the suffering of the dogs, watches intensely, hoping the dog left standing is the one they bet their money on.
In Russia and the Ukraine, dog fighting attracts big money.
A recent fight in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine reportedly was the scene of a single bet of 10,000 United States dollars - a figure many times the annual salary of a Ukrainian or Russian professional worker.
But it's not just the dog owners who make money. The lack of legislation has meant boom times for dog breeders too.
Yuri, he didn't want to give Reuters his family name, is a dog breeder. He seems like an intelligent 35-year-old living in Lviv, Ukraine. He makes good money out of breeding fighting pitbull terriers.
He sells his specially trained dogs for anything between 300-2,000 U.S. dollars. A very good dog can cost up to 5,000 U.S. dollars. Yuri sees nothing wrong with what he does for a living.
"It (dog fighting) is like prostitution. They think about legalising it in many countries now. It is impossible to put it under control. Ukraine has many other problems, more serious than dogs fighting," he said.
Other breeders say it's in the dogs nature to fight, blaming dog owners for dragging their pets into fights.
"These are sport dogs. They love sport and fighting.
Everything bad these dogs may have, comes from their owners' nature. If the owner is aggressive and cruel, the dogs would be the same. So it is necessary to watch who is the dog's owner," says dog breeder Ilona.
Russia and the Ukraine are one of the few countries not to have a general law prohibiting dog fighting. Russia's criminal code stipulates two year's imprisonment for cruelty to animals under the charge of "hooliganism," but dog fighting rarely matches this definition in court.
Dogs are the most popular pets in the countries of the former Soviet Union. In Russia and the Ukraine their popularity has soared sine the 1990s, when special breeds like the pitbull terrier were imported from the United States.
Other larger breeds of animals are used as guard dogs and for personal protection by the new multimillionaires of Russia and the Ukraine.
In both Russia and the Ukraine, the increase in the popularity of dog fighting has also meant more reported cases of maimed animals and an increase in the number of visits by owners to the local vet.
According to some estimates, about 10 percent of dogs die after a fight. A surviving dog is usually unable to fight again for at least a year and requires a lengthy period of rehabilitation.
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