We are the shelter Berta which is located next to the town Shchelkovo, Moscow Region. There are more than 200 dogs in the shelter ( at the moment there are 240 dogs). The owner, Elena, Moscovite in the past, decided to sell her flat in Moscow, buy a house in this little town and build a shelter for dogs. This house burnt down 2 years ago, almost 200 dogs were left, without a roof over their heads , in the street. The local government provided a territory of 1.7 hectares for a new shelter.
In winter 2014 the owner asked the readers of this newspaper to make contributions and help her to feed such an amount of dogs. Elena had to leave her job and dedicate herself completely to taking care of these dogs. A lot of readers helped and Elena is very grateful for their help.
There is no electricity, heating or water supply in the shelter. A lot of paper work is required to provide all these conveniences which requires a lot of time and effort. Elena was hoping to finalize all the paper work before the winter time but she hasn’t managed to do so. Elena and 3 of her helpers ( only 4 people are taking care of 240 dogs!) are bringing water and food to the shelter. Elena has to go in her little car to the shops in the town , to the hospitals and ask for any left over food to feed the dogs.
Elena reports that, initially, the local authorities gave her the opportunity to use a dacha but soon enough they made her leave as the amount of dogs increased. One of the governors visited her and informed her that every year a sum of 55 million roubles is allocated by the government of Moscow region to tackle the problem of homeless dogs . But the money provided is used to catch dogs and kill them.
«In Moscow a lot of dogs are caught every day. Instead of bringing the dogs to the shelters, authorities take them outside the Moscow ring road and leave them there. The city pays 1100 roubles per a dog. These dogs are usually knocked down by the cars or die from anesthesia overdose outside Moscow. While on the streets of Moscow these dogs are well fed, some caring people feed them, take care of them only to find out to their great disappointment one day that these dogs disappeared and nobody knows to where they were taken. And where are they? They are on the roads , dying in terrible sufferings and nobody cares» — Elena says.
Once Elena met a man who is responsible for catching the dogs. He told her that once he left a puppy on the road, this little puppy was run over by a car, his paws were cut off. Another time , this man, while catching the dogs, was faced with a crowd of local people who were defending the dogs, and he had to leave the dogs where they lived this time, but at the back of the track he already had 7 more puppies from a different area.
Elena is living in very hard conditions:
Primarily there is no water. She brings the water in 5 liter bottles. About 300 l of water is required every day for cooking porridge for all the dogs. She uses 2 gas stoves and 2 gas cylinders, one 50 liter cylinder is enough only for 10 days, 5 liter cylinder lasts for 1,5 days, Elena uses 5 liter ones, as it is too heavy for her to carry 50 liter ones. She has to fill the gas cylinder with gas every day.
She hopes to have electricity and water supply in nearest future. Half a year has passed since the time this article was originally written but the situation remains the same. Elena is very fortunate to have 3 people helping her who live in Moscow. If there is heavy traffic it takes them 3 hours to get from Moscow to the shelter and then back.
Secondly, there is a problem of diseases. At the moment a lot of dogs have demodecosis and sarcoptes, which are very contagious diseases among animals ( not dangerous for people) and very difficult to cure. The medicine costs a lot of money, there is not enough staff ( 3 people) to treat all the dogs at the same time. It is essential to have medicine and treatment to prevent spreading of the disease continuously.
Thirdly, the problem of sterilization. Most of the dogs are not sterilized. Unfortunately ,the government doesn’t provide free sterilization for homeless animals.
Thus Elena will be very happy to have any help with food, medicine, sterilization, working in the shelter, finding home for dogs or adoption.
Elena will be really grateful for any help she receives.
240 dogs are waiting for their new masters to whom they will be loyal and whom they will adore unconditionally.