Could Storm of Protest Stop European Games City From Burning Dogs in Furnaces?

Days ago, animal rights campaigner Yelena Simakina released undercover footage of street dogs being burned in furnaces in an effort to cleanse the streets of Baku, Azerbaijan, in advance of the upcoming regional Olympic events known as the European Games. With this multi-billion dollar event set to begin in mid-June, the city is becoming a shiny apple, but there appears to be poison beneath its skin. A very personal form of protest is beginning to swell on social media with participants pointing the finger of blame directly at event organizers who turn a blind eye to the suffering of the dogs.

The video footage shows the bodies of several dogs, burning in a smoldering furnace. Yelena takes her camera through the surrounding concrete courtyard and blood is on the ground.  A puppy cowers as Yelena strokes him, trying to reassure him. A second small dog is nearby. Yelena gently carries both dogs away with her as she leaves the pound.


Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev

Almost every day there are street dogs that get killed,” Yelena said in an interview with Azadliq Radios on Radio Free Europe. “I filmed this about a week ago. Because you cannot kill stray animals in front of people, they bring them here. They shoot bigger dogs and beat the puppies to death with shovels.”

In an interview with Meydan TV, the Head of the Baku City Housing Department’s Center for Stray Animals, Ahmad Mammadov said, “These are all lies. We are simply trying to hunt for stray animals and bring them here, and put them in these cages. As you can see, these cages are built for keeping stray animals. And people help us, with food. Those are just rumors that are being spread, because this year Azerbaijan is hosting the European Games. These are just rumors intended to stir things up and prevent the Olympic Games from taking place.”

Ironically, as Mammadov speaks, a steady stream of dark smoke still rises from behind the wall to the courtyard in a restricted area. Mammadov said that Yelena’s footage was probably very old, shot during Soviet times at some other location. But according to the news team,  the video shows Baku City Executive Power vehicles parked out front. 

One local resident, who prefers to remain unnamed for safety reasons said, “I am currently living as an expat in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is absolutely heartbreaking and sickening what is going on here. It has been reported that a lot of the dogs are thrown in the furnace alive!  They are saving on bullets, and if they can not catch them, they will run them over with the car.”

“Not a lot of people want to get involved,” she continues. “Expats are afraid that they will lose their jobs, locals of possible jail time. Still there is a group of compassionate people that are willing  to do what ever it takes to get this story out there. Government has ordered all media and press to remove images and stories about the cull.”

Serhii Bubka and Jacques Rogge

President of European Olympic Committee Patrick Joseph Hickey

But perhaps the most mysterious part of these events is the silence of the European Games organizers. During Olympic events in Beijing and Sochi, similar evidence emerged of massive dog culls. Yet, in each instance, the blame falls squarely on the host city. Could it be that organizers are getting a free pass? President of European Olympic Committee Patrick Joseph Hickey has made no official comment. 

“Don’t think for a minute that there aren’t discussions about rounding up the dogs when the Olympic and European Games organizers sit down at the table with a potential host city,” said Daria Justyn, Vice President for the Harmony Fund international animal rescue charity. “The responsibility for these killings sits squarely on the shoulders of the event leadership who steer this massive business deal with what clearly amounts to a turn-cheek view of the dogs’ suffering. We all know that there’s a conversation that begins, ‘What about the stray dogs?’  Why is it that event organizers are never held accountable?”

What You Can Do to Help:

1. Sign the petition asking for an end to the killings in the city of Baku and future transparency in rolling out humane stray dog management policies in advance of Olympic events.

2. Join the social media campaign in support to this reform measure as individual animal advocates share photos of themselves holding the sign, “Shame on the Games: Save the Dogs.” Find it here on Facebook.

Photo Credit: The Great Animal Rescue Chase & Harmony Fund


Valentina R.
Valentina R3 years ago

That petition is now closed, please sign these two:

F**k you East Europe! Land of inbred drunk psychotic animal killers! Go kill yourselves!

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Can there be something merciful which is able to comfort the broken hearts?

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the useful article.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Rich oil country explains alot and the interview sounded a little too political to be believable. This is just the ultimate of evil.

Georgia a.
Georgia a3 years ago

SASHA A; I'm no film expert by any means but it certainly appeared to be dogs burning in that pit to me and how do you manufacture such terror in a puppy's eyes? I think most of us are well aware of the atrocities that take place in that section of the world on feral dogs, bless their hearts. I'd like to see that all-powerful government arrange to round the feral dogs up to have them spayed and neutered which would eventually solve their problem, rather than this atrocious slaughter which gather them nothing but world-wide condemnation. Just think if they spayed and neutered these dogs, what a wonderful thing they would be doing for their city and it's feral population as well as being an outstanding program for others to follow.

Sasha A.
Sasha A.4 years ago

To whose, who calls Azerbaijan ‘a horrific country’, I’d highly recommend first to find out some info on that country before leaving such insulting comments. It’s a highly developed, rich oil country, a part of the South-East Europe...I do support dogs, however have doubts about this fishy story unless I see some videos or real photos of what's happening in Azerbaijan on my own. This story guys sounds like too suspicious. Has one of you seen any evidential videos or photos on your own? No! Knowing this country and its president I am not gonna put blind trust in this horrific story without any evidence.

Charlie Suki
Charlie Suki4 years ago

There are numerous petitions doing the round, especially against the Asian countries such as China eating dog/cat meat.... boy the human race needs to change!

Susan Holmes
Susan H4 years ago


Miriam O.

Thanks very much for sharing with us! Signed!