Thu Nov 10 01:30pm EST
Manchester-based Polish fourth-choice goalkeepers aren't the only ones roaming the streets with no sense of their own purpose. It's estimated that there are tens of thousands of stray dogs populating major cities in the Ukraine, with 3,000 reported biting incidents in Kiev alone last year.
With Euro 2012 around the corner, organizers have decided — if you'll excuse the pun — that that dog ain't gonna hunt, so they've taken some rather extreme measures. Strays in host cities are being poisoned or injected (allegedly with banned substances) and left to an agonizing death, before being burnt in mobile crematoriums. You can see a gruesome video news report about it here, but be warned: It will probably upset you if you aren't evil.
Joining PETA and Ukrainian animal rights groups in utter abhorrence is the German National football team, which Friday night plays a friendly with Ukraine at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, the venue of the Euro 2012 final.
"Now our national team must fight against the dog killers!" exclaims an outraged article on the website of German tabloid Bild. It reports that German Football Association president Theo Zwanziger has condemned the cruelty, and that the Ukranians have been asked several times to find an alternative solution.
Some of Germany's mutt-lovin' stars have also spoken out. Midfielder Toni Kroos — who will be leaving his two Beagles at home next summer — said: "This is terrible. Dogs occupy a large part of my life." Other unhappy German stars include Miroslav Klose (pictured above left with his Great Dane Alyia), Thomas Müller (pictured above right with Labrador and wife), Lukas Podolski (another Lab owner) and Mesut Özil, who ensures he isn't the least attractive thing in his home by keeping a bulldog in it.
While some (possibly Polish) activists have called for the tournament to be taken away from Ukraine, others hope that they will seek a more humane solution. Either way, if you're heading to the tournament next year, make sure you don't buy a hot dog from a street vendor.