In the memory of all stray animals killed and tortured on the territory of Belarus in the 21st century.
* Warning:The material contains shocking photos. Not advisable to people under age or people with neurotic disorders!
The 21st century. The centre of Europe. We endlessly admire our clean towns and cities, another Wonder of the World – the National Library of the Republic of Belarus, breathtaking stadiums, ever-growing possibilities for Belarusians… If you drive a couple of kilometers off Minsk though, you will witness the barbaric massacre of stray and domestic cats and dogs – our officials’ worst enemy and most dangerous threat. Housing and municipal services are scrupulously trying to get rid of these “evil spirits”, above and beyond their call of duty… Frustrated, common people shed tears. Their health ruined, they give up. Children that witnessed the massacre fail to understand how they can go on living with this burden on their shoulders…
Dwellers of neighboring towns and villages keep writing letters and making phone calls….
Public Association for Animal Protection “EGIDA” is launching a series called “Fascists are trooping across Belarusian Land”. We are going to tell you things you haven’t heard before. As soon as you learn these things though, you will be eager to pass them on to others. What is going on can rightfully be called THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY.
Episode Three. The Village of Yazyl. Starodorozhsky District. Public Association for Animal Protection “EGIDA” received a phone call from Nataliya Dmitrievna Kurulyova. She phoned and told us about the massacre of dogs in the Village of Yazyl. Nataliya moved from the Capital City of Minsk to the country hoping to find some “peace and quiet” there. They bought a solid house, started to settle down… but her family didn’t manage to get the long hoped-for rest and comfort in the village.
“There are very many evil, heartless, indifferent people here. No jobs. The Local Council administration is constantly threatening the employees that, if something goes wrong, they will get fired and their houses will be confiscated. People are grabbing hold of life...” – says Nataliya.
This explains why everyone keeps silent when the dogs are being shot. Except Nataliya, who does not depend on a job in the Local Council and is not afraid that her house will be confiscated. She cannot put up with the cruel shooting of animals. She gathered the signatures of her countrymen who wish to stop this cruel slaughter, and came to Minsk in search of truth. This is how we met.
The beginning of the story. On February 5, 2010, early in the morning, the local livestock specialist Ivan Gorgun stopped by the farm. There were many dogs on the farm: they would come here together with their owners. They were given meat to eat and milk to drink....
The livestock specialist Ivan Gorgun left his three dogs in the barn and called his son, Sergey Gorgun, aged 25, working as the local police officer. “Go and shoot the dogs! There have become too many of them!” Two hours had hardly passed when Sergey Gorgun appeared on the farm together with two hunters (it remains yet to be seen, whether they were hunters at all)... And so the hunting started, wild and hazardous!
Representatives of Public Association for Animal Protection “EGIDA” came to the place. Having listened to the witnesses, they recorded their commentaries on a camera. They followed the DEADLY path till the very end. They met Head of the Local Council Victor Vasilievich Mesko, the local police officer Sergey Gorgun.
“The wolf hunt is going on...” This is what happened in Yazyl. ALL the dogs were besieged: both stray and domestic pets. What did you expect from the hunters? What if they are not given another ammunition pack for a long time so there will be no opportunity to shoot? Besides, each killed animal is well paid for! The dog Malysh followed its master down the street (the dog that belonged to Nataliya Kurulyova) – where it was shot in front of its master’s eyes.
The milkmaid, Ludmila, said it was the first time that she had become witness to such a cruel massacre in her village. A miniature old grey dog came out through the gate of its master’s yard: it was shot point-blank.
The miller, Paul, told us that on his way to work he saw agonizing dogs every 30 meters all along the road...
The wounded dogs escaped from the farm and headed towards the village. This happened at 7.30 a.m. Just at the time when children were going to school and the kindergarten. One of the dogs got to the school yard and fell down near the children’s ski-track. It lay there for two hours, dying.
This is the kind of “toys” children find in the village…
A woman was leaving the local shop when she heard a shot. Only five meters away from her. They were shooting a dog, but the woman’s heart missed a beat, because she thought for a moment that they were aiming at her. Feeling fear for her own life on the one hand and witnessing the animal’s death on the other hand broke her health.
The Local Council administration assigned the task of collecting the dead animals to two Council employees. The dead dogs were thrown into a tractor-trailer. But there were dogs that were still alive among them. The employees asked the “hunters” that had been shooting the dogs to “finish them”. “Just kill them with a hammer! Why should we waste ammo on them?” – the murderers were hooting with laughter. One of the employees (a driver) could not stand it anymore: he burst out crying and left, having refused to accomplish such a task. The next day he went on the booze. The other employee stayed to pile the animals, both alive and dead, in the trailer and dump them at the local animal burial site (there has to be one here, as there is a farm). We decided to follow this path.
There is an animal burial site, just one and a half kilometers away from the village. We put on gum boots (because of the weather we took several pairs of boots with us) and walked through the knee-deep snow: it was wet and sticky. It was hard to walk and took us quite a time. But it turned out we didn’t have to walk as far as the animal burial site. We had covered about one kilometer when on our left we saw something resembling an island, right on the field. Further I had to walk alone: Nataliya Kurulyova, whose dog might be there as well, shivered and started to cry. The two girls with the cameras were too young. I told them to wait till I get there first and look around.
So I did get there. Walking through deep wet snow. Having come closer, as close as it was possible, I sank down. I simply had to come to myself again after the shocking scene I had witnessed.
This is what I saw: Dead dogs were lying in several rows. Fascists used to bury their victims, at least. The new Fascists had not only failed to bury them, they hadn’t even carried them as far as the animal burial site. They dumped the “garbage” a little way off the village. This image is still before my eyes: a small ginger dog is hugging a small black one. The girls with the camera came up to me. No one could hide the tears.
This scene calls for no comments. (Skip the images)
Having talked to the witnesses and examined the place which had become the burial site for the dogs shot on February 5, we headed towards the Local Council.
Wooden idols and an eyeless sun became the silent witnesses of the slaughterous outrage...
We were burning with desire to meet Head of the Local Council (also acting as a Deputy of the Local Council, delegated by Starodorozhsky District) Victor Vasilievich Mesko and the “courageous” young police officer Sergey Gorgun, who was responsible for the shooting and had himself participated in it.
Victor Vasilievich met us “at dagger point”. Of course, he had already been informed that there were people with cameras walking around the village, talking with the village people, taking photos and shooting films. In a threatening tone, he asked us to show him our documents and business trip permits... He inquired why we hadn’t come to him STRAIGHT AWAY to tell him what we needed... He insulted us...
I offered him to take a seat and talk to us. Gradually, an aggressive conversation was giving way to a calm one. It turned out that V.V. Mesko had actually NEVER had “Provision about capture, shooting, temporary keeping and euthanasia” on his working desk. He has no idea that “shooting should be carried out with the help of special guns under the supervision of a vet..., in a special building..., with the help of a special veterinary drugs registered on the territory of the Republic of Belarus...”. He knows nothing about burying dead animals... He knows and understands NOTHING at all. We wrote all our questions in “Recommendations and Concerns” book and are looking forward to getting answers.
Of one thing we are certain: he got really frightened. He realizes very well that when the administration of a higher rank gave him the instructions to “SHOOT THE ANIMALS” it did not mean that the shooting should be carried out with FIREARMS in broad daylight. Neither did he receive any instructions about finishing the animals with a hammer. Nor was he made to dump all the animals, both alive and dead, into one huge pile. The administration is not going to take all this upon themselves. As Victor Vasilievich happens to be a Deputy of the Local Council and wishes to keep this position for some time, he does not want to mess things up and get into trouble. He promised that they will NEVER AGAIN shoot animals in the village. He only asked us not to submit the case to the General Prosecutor’s Office. It’s up to you whether to believe him or not. But we can’t bring the killed animals back to life... Nataliya Kurulyova doesn’t believe his words. Neither does she want to live in the village any more.