SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- According to a report from ABC News, Sochi has hired a company to kill the city’s large population of stray dogs in preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
The company’s owner, Alexei Sorokin, indicated that the dogs could be a big problem at the Games.
“Imagine, if during an Olympic games, a ski jumper landed at 130 kilometers an hour [over 80 mph] and a dog runs into him when he lands. It would be deadly for both a jumper and for the stray dog,” Sorokin said. “Dogs must be taken off the streets even if that means putting them to sleep.”
Although the company uses poisons and traps, Sorokin denied that there is any animal cruelty involved and said he offers a public service. “I am for the right of people to walk the streets without fear of being attacked by packs of dogs,” he said. “Let’s call things by their real name. These dogs are biological trash.”
Animal rights groups are up in arms about the decision.
“We’re concerned to hear about the dog culls in Sochi . . . these mass killings are cruel, ineffective and unnecessary,” said World Society for the Protection of Animals spokesperson Elizabeth Sharpe. “Only formalized vaccination, sterilization and responsible pet ownership programs can effectively and humanely control dog populations in the long-term.”
Prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the city organized the killing of stray cats.
“We have heard that many citizen groups and local animal welfare organizations are vocally against this practice in Russia,” Sharpe said. “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss collaborative efforts with local groups and International bodies like the IOC to make sure Governments preparing for future events like this use humane population management, not mass killing.”