Turkmenistan opens first animal shelter ahead of major sports event in Ashgabat

ASHGABAT (TCA) — Turkmenistan is opening its first shelter for stray cats and dogs as the country prepares to host a major international athletic competition — the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which will be held in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat from September 17 to 27, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reports.

The shelter, founded by a resident at her home outside Ashgabat, was registered by the state and will receive government assistance, a report on August 21 in Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper said.

The government has pledged to allocate land to expand the shelter, which currently houses about 100 dogs and 50 cats. It also promised to provide medicine for it.

The move comes as animal rights activists condemned what they said was a brutal campaign to slaughter homeless animals ahead of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Turkmenistan has made extensive preparations for the prestigious games, including banning the sale of alcohol until the games are over, ordering former prison inmates to stay away from sports venues, and clearing beggars from the streets of Ashgabat.

Turkmenistan has put its military and law enforcement agencies on high alert for the period from August 17 until September 27, the period of preparations and holding of the Games.

The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is the largest sports event Turkmenistan has ever hosted.

Turkmenistan wants to use the Games to boost its image as a regional sports hub, as authorities expect that tens of thousands of foreigners to visit Turkmenistan during the event.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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