What do Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ã–zil, Thomas MÃ¼ller, Miroslav Klose and Toni Kroos all have in common?
If you said they were all members of a German National football team poised to take home this summer's Euro 2012 trophy you'd be right. But there's something else that links these five players.
They're all dog owners.
Which makes it only natural that they are joining in the outcry of anger over Euro 2012 host Ukraine's program of torturing and murdering stray dogs.
Ukraine's tactics in regards to the large number (some estimates are in the tens of thousands) of stray dogs roaming their cities' streets have been widely condemned ever since they were given the responsibility (jointly with Poland) of hosting the tournament. The dogs are fed poison and left to suffer painful and gruesome deaths, and then their bodies are collected and cremated (with many animals burned alive). It's a disgusting and cruel step being taken only to ensure that the fans attending the Euro 2012 matches see a neat, clean facade.
Of the tactics Miroslav Klose has said "If these reports are true, as a dog owner I can only say it's a cruel way to deal with the dogs."
Says Lukas Podolski: "It's unbelievable what's happening. Every dog owner should be up in arms."
Theo Zwanziger, president of the German Football Association, has expressed his outrage and demanded that the Ukraine find another way to solve the problem.
Until now the only groups actively drawing attention to this outrageous act of animal cruelty have been local PETA associations. Hopefully the involvement of stars like Podolski, Ã–zil, Klose, MÃ¼ller, and Kroos will bring this sad situation to public light.