Sochi has undergone a complete makeover over the last few years in preparation for the Winter Olympics. They've erected new luxurious buildings and built a highway that reportedly cost more than $7 billion, but few know about a gruesome last-minute clean-up the government has sanctioned—killing stray dogs.
Russia, like most economically struggling countries, has a large stray dog population. Some stray dogs in Moscow have adapted to a big city way of life and learned to ride the underground subway. Unfortunately, just because they can take a train does not mean they are treated like the rest of the commuters.
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Each year, thousands of dogs and cats are poisoned, beaten to death or shot to death in just Sochi alone, according to news reports. It is reportedly the alternative to animal neutering in Russia.
USA Today reported that in April 2013 the government in Sochi announced its plans to kill around 2,000 stray dogs in order to ensure the safety of visitors and for beautification purposes.
The outcry was tremendous. Volunteers rallied to capture, feed, clean and sterilize the dogs. In a year and half since the government’s original announcement they have saved 800 dogs, but many say that it is not nearly enough. In just a few days the government announced that it had changed its plans and would instead capture and sterilize the animals. But in reality, this was not case.
CTV News reported that a company was hired to “clean” Sochi of stray dogs during the nocturnal hours of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Local animal rescue volunteers and activists persisted and pushed the government to keep its promise. The government at first said no to building new animal shelters, but finally agreed.
It’s rumored that the company they hired to build and oversee the shelters is the same company that trolled the Sochi streets at night euthanizing dogs. One can only speculate what will actually happen behind closed doors in those shelters.