Some of the world’s wealthiest do have a heart.
Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, is saving hundreds of stray dogs set to be culled ahead of Friday’s opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The PovoDog shelter – financially backed by Deripaska – was rushing to save the dogs off of city streets with a ‘dog rescue’ gold carts, according to media reports.
Derispaska – CEO of Basic Element, an investment company in metals, particularly aluminum – divvied out $15,000 to launch the shelter, built on government-donated land, and has promised $50,000 per year for operations.
The government initiative to remove the stray dogs began last October. The dogs, some of which have been found wandering around Olympic venues, are said to be wild and dangerous. Hundreds of the animals have already been exterminated.
Animal rights advocates around the world are outraged, including Washington-based Humane Society International, which sent a message to President Vladimir Putin, urging him to stop the killing. “It is true that there are stray dogs in Sochi, more stray dogs than in other cities,” responded Putin in a statement to the media. “The explanation is quite simple. When a big construction project is underway, dogs and puppies always appear whom the builders feed. Now the builders have left, but unfortunately, the dogs remain.”
According to Forbes, Deripaska has donated $1.38 billion in support of the Olympics, including the Sochi airport project. His net worth is estimated at $8.5 billion.