Sochi Officials Order Stray Dogs Killed Ahead of Olympics
A pest control company which has been killing stray dogs in Sochi for years told The Associated Press on Monday that it has a contract to exterminate more of the animals during the Olympics.
Alexei Sorokin, director general of pest control firm Basya Services, explained his company is engaged in what he described as the “catching and disposing” of dogs. Sorokin declined to specify whether they shoot or poison dogs or say where they take the carcasses.
A large number of stray dogs are walking around the streets of Sochi, Sorokin mentioned, and some of them are “biting children.”
Sorokin mentioned he attended a rehearsal of the Olympic opening ceremony a week ago and witnessed a stray dog walking in on the performers.
“A dog ran into the Fisht Stadium, we took it away,” he said. “God forbid something like this happens at the actual opening ceremony. This will be a disgrace for the whole country.”
Stray dogs aren’t unusual in Sochi and the nearby area, and quite a few have a tendency to gather close to construction sites where they are likely to get food and shelter from workers. They have even been able to get inside the Olympic Park.
Sorokin’s company operates in the Krasnodar region, which includes Sochi and the neighboring area. Sorokin refused to mention how many dogs they kill a year, calling it “a commercial secret.”
Sergei Krivonosov, a lawmaker from the Krasnodar region, last year supported the dog culling.
Krivonosov said getting the dogs off the street was Russia’s “responsibility to the international community and that their elimination is the quickest way to solve this problem.” He conceded, however, that this is “not the most humane way” of managing the problem and said that authorities should encourage dog shelters.
Sochi city hall last year announced a contract “to catch and dispose” of stray dogs in Sochi however animal activists vehemently protested the move. Authorities agreed to give up the practice and build animal shelters for stray dogs as an alternative.
Activists claim there is no proof that a shelter has been built.
Shooting stray dogs has been frequent practice in many Russian regions regardless of activists’ efforts to push authorities for more humane means of handling the issue.
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