Watch out for Rover on your Muscovite Menu

Make sure you scrutinize the menu if dining out in Moscow after Russian police arrested a man caught in possession of 15 dog carcasses, en route to the kitchens of some of the city's eating joints. The man was apprehended in the city of Orlov after police searched his van to discover the skinned bodies of the dogs, which he claimed to be dressed mutton. Testing of a sample of the meat showed it to be dog.

The arrest follows a spate of incidents where traders have been arrested and restaurants closed in Russia's capital for trading in and serving dog meat, usually under the guise of mutton or pork. In March this year a bus from Kursk to Moscow was found harbouring the skinned bodies of dogs on board. The driver claimed that a man had offered him money to take the grizzly delivery to Moscow for distribution to certain restaurants.

Doggy delicacies are normally thought of as being South Korean specialities, but it seems Muscovites have been developing a taste for man's best friend as well. It's estimated that around 50 eating establishments are serving meals that include dog although only about 10 of these are doing it openly. And these places include, not only Chinese or Korean, but also traditional Russian restaurants, where dog is more commonly served up as mutton or pork.

Police also pointed out that there were no specific dog-rearing farms within the city or nearby, so the obvious explanation for the steady supply is that stray dogs are being nabbed off the streets. In November last year police closed down a chain of Chinese restaurants after customer complaints that they had seen workers entering the back of the cafe lugging sacks which had something squirming and yelping in them. A police bust of the joints threw up the macabre discovery of decapitated dogs and dogs heads at the back of the premises, while other stray dogs while being kept in cages awaiting the wok.


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