For her, animals stand above career and money

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Пост на английском. Статья о Наташе Петкевич, которая бросила работу в рекламном агентстве и теперь борется за права животных. Из статьи: «Мы собрали около 50 видео, на которых собаколовы издеваются...

Пост на английском. Статья о Наташе Петкевич, которая бросила работу в рекламном агентстве и теперь борется за права животных.

Из статьи: «Мы собрали около 50 видео, на которых собаколовы издеваются над бедными животными».

Одно из видео показывает, как собаколовы разделяют сучку с ее тремя щенками. Затем они поливают щенков бензином и поджигают их. «Сучка умерла от разрыва сердца», – говорит Наташа.

“We’ll follow you.”

“OK. But beware, the road here sucks,” Natasha said.

She executed a sharp U-turn and dashed away leaving behind a grey trail of dust. Her white Nissan Cefiro was swiftly avoiding all the hummocks and holes and from time to time disappearing in the turns.

Natasha stopped in front of a grey gate and went out of the car. She has auburn hair with several dark locks made in a ponytail. She is an active thirtysomething with a loud and joyful voice.

While Natasha is approaching the gate we hear deafening barking of her three dogs on the opposite side. She then locks them up and we can enter her house.

A white Husky, a black Mastiff and an old German shepherd are barking at the aliens. “Don’t be afraid. They won’t do anything to you,” she says.

Another dog stands growling against a glass door, being unable to attack us. A black-and-white French bulldog, though being quite small, is a good watchdog.

In a big cage somebody is twittering. A tiny baby magpie Varya opens her rosy beak and flatters the wings. Natasha takes a cup full of boiled eggs cut into small pieces and feeds the bird.

When the magpie gets satisfied, Natasha puts the cup on the floor. Immediately a little smoky kitten rushes to the cup and digs his snout in the white-and-yellow mesh.

“Hey, that’s Varya’s meal. Get out!” Natasha raises her voice gently.

The kitten retreats and rushes back to an empty bottle, his new toy.

“How many animals do you have?” – “Twelve in total.”

***

Two years ago Natasha Petkevich worked in the advertising agency. She had a well-paid job, a flat in Almaty, a loving family and not a worry in the world. Everything has changed when one of her friends had lost a dog. This was the first time Natasha faced the cruel reality in which the city animals live. And that was the first time she has visited a site where all the city stray dogs are brought by doghunters. After this visit Natasha decided to leave her job and to devote all her time to the animals in trouble.

“We’ve collected about 50 videos where doghunters torture poor animals.”

One of the videos shows how the doghunters separate a bitch from her three puppies. Then they shower the puppies with petrol and burn them. “The bitch died from a heart attack,” Natasha says.

The doghunters catch the stray dogs with a loop, she says. A metal wire cuts a throat and a dog is bleeding. Then laughing they bang the dog against a wall or a car door and bring it to their site. Still dogs are usually not ready to die. They always try to defend themselves and struggle till the end comes. A dog can live about a day more bleeding and suffering. During this period it becomes especially aggressive, so that doghunters do not risk approaching it.

When Natasha’s friend saw this procedure she bought a vial with poison for 5,000 tenge by the doghunters and asked them to kill the dog. But the doghunters refused. They said it was too risky to come near to the dying dog. The friend went up to the dog alone. The dog did not even bark at her. “The poor animal had suffered about ten hours and it was grateful for the upcoming end.”

Natasha takes a cigarette.

***

Natasha does not belong to any organization or fund. “I want to be independent,” she says. “Of course, you get a good financial and governmental support being a part of an organization. But you also need to follow its mission and corporate identity. That limits me.”

At the moment she has created a huge network of similar passionate activists. “I can call any of them and they will come and help,” she says.

In the soon future she plans to expand this network even more and get officially registered. In this business Natasha strongly relies on the support of the Russian colleagues. After a few stories shown on TV several animal protection organizations from Moscow and St. Petersburg have paid their attention to Natasha and her supporters and expressed their willingness to help. “The situation with the animal rights is much better in Russia. At least they have the proper legislation. And a cruel treatment of the animals is administratively punished,” says Natasha.

***

Natasha has two children who also share her love to animals. The elder son has finished school this year. He often brings wounded homeless creatures to his mother and the family leaves them until their recovery.

The younger daughter is only six years old. “If nobody comes for the smoky kitten, we’ll leave him with us,” she says. “He’s already made friends with our Sunny.” Hearing that Sunny, a big sandy cat, slips between the legs and disappears under a table.

Her husband patiently supports his wife. Even though he feels anxious about her and sometimes even prohibits visiting the dangerous places, she still can always find his support and understanding.

Natasha loves her family. And the enemies know that. “Beware,” they say. “You have two children.”

The enemies have several leverages of influence. “When we start a protest campaign they make a counter blow.” What they do is throw meat stuffed with glass, so that all dogs, homeless and with owners, suffer. “The doghunters have already done that to my dogs. They have survived miraculously.”  It is always difficult to lose friends, even if they are animals.

***

A decade ago Natasha was fond of riding. She spent a great deal of her time at the city racetrack with her horse Berezka.

“That wasn’t the relationship of a jockey and a horse. We had the relationship of very close friends.”

During one of the regular trainings her Berezka cut a front leg. And Natasha together with the horse fell down.

“You know, horses are brilliantly smart animals. When they fall they are ready to scrag themselves but not injure a jockey,” says Natasha ashing a superslim cigarette.

That time she was badly injured and had to stay in bed about half a year. Once Natasha’s trainer called her and said: “Berezka goes to the meat-packing plant. We need you.” The horse didn’t let anybody to approach her. She could not be cured and could not participate in races anymore. So, Natasha had to escape from home and get to her friend to say goodbye.

 

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