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February 4, 2014

Putin Urged to Stop Stray Animal Removal in Sochi

Humane Society International

  • HSI is working to combat street dog overpopulation. Alex Rothlisberger/HSI

In response to reports that officials in the city of Sochi, Russia hired a company to kill stray animals ahead of the Winter Olympics, Humane Society International is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the culling.

Andrew Rowan, HSI’s CEO, said: “Killing street dogs, whether through poisoning, shooting or other means, is not only inhumane, but ineffective. Humane Society International, the global arm of The Humane Society of the United States, has been implementing street dog programs throughout the world for nearly two decades. Our programs include mass sterilization, vaccination and community education, the only scientific and effective approach to solve the street dog issue long term. While Russia has the world’s attention with the Olympics around the corner, the current dog killing program will only rouse an international outcry and taint the image of the country.”

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In a letter delivered to President Putin, HSI describes its collaboration with governments from around the world to implement programs to humanely and effectively control street dog populations. These programs, which are in place in India and Bhutan, among other countries, have resulted in fewer dogs on the street; a reduction in the rate of dog attacks and substantial reduction in the number of dog bites requiring treatment; and an improved human-dog relationship that benefits both people and dogs.

The letter also describes how HSI has closely monitored the street dog problem in Russia for the past two decades, observing that street dog programs implemented by local governments have suffered from lack of resources and commitment.

HSI became involved in Sochi last summer when city officials announced a plan to kill 2,000 dogs ahead of the Winter Olympics. The international outcry forced city officials to abandon that plan. HSI stands ready to help Russian authorities address street dogs, saying in the letter that: “While it is too late for many dogs in Sochi, we again offer to provide advice and expertise on how to manage dog populations humanely.”

A full copy of the letter to President Putin is available here. Read a blog entry on this issue by HSUS President & CEO Wayne Pacelle here.

Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: +1 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org    

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