Russian Officials Say Euthanising Stray Dogs Is Not Official Policy Ahead Of World Cup

stray dog in snowGetty

Animal activists and general human beings have been left outraged over Russia’s apparent plans to cull stray dogs ahead of the World Cup.

According to reports, stray dogs are being killed in order to make the country more ‘visitor-friendly’ – essentially tidying up the place.

Reports say the dogs are being handed ‘poisoned food’, or being shot at with ‘poisoned darts or blowguns’.

There are believed to be around two million strays dogs in the Russia’s 11 World Cup host cities, according to The Guardian.

Officials have denied euthanasia is their ‘official policy’, and said their primary focus is to move dogs into shelters.

But Open Cages and other local campaign groups said the slaughtering is continuing and have set up a petition which has seen more than 7,000 people backing it.

The group said:

FIFA must shoulder the responsibility for these deaths and take immediate action to ensure no more dogs are inhumanely slaughtered, now and in the future.

They also claim they have caught on camera ‘starving and desperate dogs’ being ‘fed meat laced with lethal chemicals and then left to die’.

Posting on social media, one person wrote:

I love sports, I’m looking forward to the World Cup, but no sporting event, no matter how big, prestigious or expensive should be the catalyst for animal cruelty.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, met with animal rights activists earlier on this year, to ‘discuss their fears that stray dogs would be exterminated ahead of the tournament’, writes The Guardian.

While the meeting went seemingly well with Mutko pledging to ‘stop all cruelty’, telling activists he’d arranged for the ‘construction of shelters for stray animals’, plans haven’t seemed to go any further than that.

three stray dogsPA

Activists have made allegations which suggest the dog killings have in fact ‘continued’, and branded Mutko’s words ‘meaningless’.

Yekaterina Dmitriyeva, the head of NGO the Foundation for the Protection of Urban Animals, was at the meeting.

She said:

If you put it in plain Russian, they said ‘sod off, we’re going to carry on killing.

This is not the first time this issue has been raised, either.

In 2014, stray dogs were rounded up and killed ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

It was revealed a private company had been secretly hired to carry out a mass cull of stray dogs ahead of the games, the Independent wrote at the time.

Alexei Sorokin, director general of Basya Services, spoke to ABC News, telling them his company were involved in the ‘catching and disposing’ of stray dogs. On a sinister note, he refused to specify whether they shoot or poison dogs or say where they take the bodies.

He also refused to say how many dogs they kill each year and said what his company was doing was a ‘public service’ because the stray dogs were ‘biological trash’.

Sorokin added:

I am for the right of people to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by packs of dogs.

Awful, awful.

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