WHAT: Dozens of retired Russian animal stars live crammed into stinking cages in a rusty old bus parked in a lot alongside a St. Petersburg highway. They get minimal feeding, no washing or medical care, and no relief during the sweltering summers.
WHO: Katya the bear, 36, was a longtime headliner of the St. Petersburg State Circus. Her motorcycle riding was televised worldwide at the 1980 Summer Olympics. Now she spends all day jumping inside her small cage and chewing on the rusty metal bars.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT: These animals “can’t move normally and start going crazy,” said Zoya Afanasyeva of the Vita animal rights group. Activists have long urged Russia’s government to strengthen animal-protection laws, with little to show for it.