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Olympics 2014

Sochi's Plan to Rid Itself of Stray Dogs

Sochi's Plan to Rid Itself of Stray Dogs
Reuters

Sochi is trying to get rid of its stray dog problem in time for the Olympics, much to the dismay of local animal activists. 

Thousands of strays have been living in the area's many construction sites in recent years. More recently, they've been spotted around the now-open Olympic Park.

Last year, Sochi's city government announced a controversial plan "to catch and dispose" of strays dogs around the city. But authorities rethought the plan after complaints from animal activists. Instead, they pledged to build animal shelters for strays. But activists say they've yet to see a shelter even though city hall announced that it does have one, accommodating 100 dogs.

Now, city officials want local pest control firm, Basya Services, to exterminate the strays in advance of the Winter Games. Alexei Sorokin, the director general of the company assigned to kill Sochi's stray dogs wouldn't say how many dogs his company kills a year, telling the AP that it's a "commercial secret."

Sorokin says that the city's dogs could cause problems during the Olympics, mentioning how he saw one recently walk into an opening ceremony rehearsal last week. "God forbid something like this happens at the actual opening ceremony," Sorokin told the AP, adding that such an incident could "be a disgrace for the whole country."
 
Activists continue to ask for shelters and sterilization efforts, but political will is hard to find. A lawmaker from the region who supported last year's plan to eliminate strays says that killing the dogs, while "not the most humane way" to solve the problem, is "the quickest way."
 
Top image: A stray dog lies at the main square of the Rosa Khutor Alpine Skiing centre in the valley of Krasnaya Polyana, some 40 km (25 miles) outside of the Black Sea city of Sochi February 14, 2012. (REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

 

Keywords: Dogs, Stray Dogs, Russia, Sochi

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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