African lions, bears, wolves, monkeys and other exotic animals of the traveling zoo are on the brink of starving. For 3 hours the animals are locked in their cages in Krasnodon. They are the hostages of the Lugansk customs office.
In February of 2008 David Hudayan, the traveling zoo owner, entered the Ukraine. There he was asked for the document that could allow him to freely move within the Ukraine. One of the customs office members said that he would help to execute this document without any problems and delay for the sum of 2000. He didn’t say, in which currency. Hudayan thought it was 2 thousand hryvnas, but the officer claimed he demanded 2 thousand US dollars. The zoo owner didn’t have this amount of money, but nobody cared.
That was just the beginning of Hudayan’s sufferings. First, he had to for the transportation of rare species in Russia, and in the Ukrainian customs office he was directed to Lugansk to get the temporary entry permission. The zoo owner tried 2 times to submit the documents and declaration, but both times was rejected without any explanation. Then he was directed to the Chamber of Commerce to get the estimation of the animals. Finally he got the document. But the verification of all the documents required additional 21, 5 thousand hryvnas (more than 4 thousand dollars). That was too much for the man. To feed the animals and find money to pay the debt, he set up a personal exhibition, but in a small town of Krasnodon there were few people to pay money for it.
So now the man has nothing to feed his animals with. Local citizens made things worse by claiming tat he fed the zoo with local homeless cats and dogs. So the man had to go through the procedure of the checkup. Hudayan had to take the commission to the store to prove that he buys meet there, though in small quantities.
The senior Lugansk Customs Service officer, Anatoly Czech admits: ‘Russian traveling zoo crossed the Ukraine border to goon tour around the Ukraine with them. We made 2 protocols on customs service rules violation’. The entry documents weren’t arranged on time, and the zoo without any permission started to tour in the Ukraine. Today the zoo is still not registered because its owner doesn’t have enough money to pay off all the bills.
However, the zoo in fact belongs to the Ukraine. All the animals were presented to Hudayan by Ukrainian zoo. The equipment was also made there, so there is no reason to claim the zoo Russian. To this Czech also responded: according to the documents, the wild beast shew belongs to Russia and was temporary sent for tour to the Ukraine.
Meanwhile animals start to die from hunger. So far a tiger, a monkey and a camel died. ‘I can’t watch them suffering’, - says the devastated owner. He tried to get the permission to shoot them off to save them from excruciating death. Note that from the start of the year 3 protocols about corruption to the members of Lugansk customs Office has been made.
Translated by Lena Ksandinova