Uzbekistan: And Now, Even Going After Puppy Dogs
It's bad enough that Uzbekistan arrests and tortures dozens of journalists and human rights activists and thousands of Muslim believers; it's bad enough that President Islam Karimov is notorious for having his enemies boiled alive; it's bad enough that Karimov's regime has been sweeping out people from their homes and shops and banishing the homeless under a callous renovation plan -- and is even known for killing cute, fluffy kittens.
Now, the dictator has gone after man's best friend.
The 20th anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence, which is to be celebrated September 1, has been the driver for much of this brutal activity.
We've already seen how Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev created the climate for forced child labor in Uzbekistan with his recent threats to jail farmers who can't meet quotas -- just as he did last year.
Now, the Prime Minister has signed a decree, "On Perfection of the Work of Services for Catching Stray Dogs" and has become personally involved in enforcing the decree, Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.
A worker at Uzbekistan's Veterinarian Control says that more than 1,000 stray dogs have already been destroyed in the pre-anniversary sweep -- and that's before the "active phase" of the plan, which begins today. In fact, 188 departments for dog-catching have been created around the country with a staff of 560.
One of the dog-catchers interviewed by Radio Ozodlik says workers are going through parks, alleys, cemeteries, and basements and beating the canines to death with sticks. He confirmed that the pups weren't taken to dog pounds and euthanized and cremated, but instead were captured, beaten to death, and buried. The procedure is not new, he said, but has been in place for past holidays, when the government has ordered the capture of dogs, cats, birds, mongooses and rats.
The worker also revealed that August 10 would be the big day for rounding up dogs, so pet-owners may want to hold Fido close. According to the prime minister's instructions, police are also instructed to take part in the dog-catching, and are allowed to shoot them on sight -- and those who shoot the most hounds will be given an award.
As EurasiaNet has reported, with the impending anniversary, Tashkent authorities have already been evicting people from shops and homes, and clearing out the BOMZhi, which is the Russian-language term for "persons without a registered place of residence."
The homeless are being taken to lock-ups where they are forced to perform "socially useful labor," says Radio Ozodlik. A source told Radio Ozodlik that given the harsh regimen, the homeless, which often includes disabled people, are often exploited, and forced to do odd jobs for police or get their relatives to pay bribes for their release, or even trafficked abroad.