Russia Promises to Stop Killing Stray Dogs Before World Cup 2018

As a way of “cleaning up” Sochi, Russia, prior to the Winter Olympics in 2014, city officials hired a pest control firm to kill thousands of stray dogs. Many of those dogs were former pets abandoned when their families’ houses were demolished prior to the construction of Olympics venues. The families were moved to apartments where their dogs were unwelcome.

People around the world, as well as the world’s greatest athletes, were outraged. Some, like silver-medalist skier Gus Kenworthy, adopted doomed dogs to spare their lives. Humane Society International worked with local rescue groups to transport many of the dogs to the United States, where they found forever homes.

After more than 174,000 people signed a Care2 petition urging President Vladamir Putin to end the killing of the street dogs, Sochi city officials had an animal shelter built to house some of the strays.

Fast forward four years. Now Russia is getting ready to host the World Cup soccer games this June and July — and, yet again, there are reports that the government is spending nearly $2 million to cull dogs in Sochi as well as 10 other host cities.

“We have received many appeals from animal rights activists, and just caring citizens, saying mass shooting and euthanasia of stray animals is taking place in a number of World Cup-host cities,” Vladimir Burmatov, head of the Russian lower house’s ecology and environmental protection committee, told the newspaper Parlamentskaya Gazeta.

Burmatov and the committee sent a letter to Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, asking that he tell regional authorities to use humane methods to kill the dogs.

The good news — if he keeps his promise, that is — is that instead of killing the street dogs in host cities, Kolobkov said they will be placed in temporary shelters during the World Cup games. Host cities would be instructed to “avoid measures that could be evaluated as cruel treatment of animals and provoke a negative reaction in society,” Kolobkov told the Parlamentskaya Gazeta.

This isn’t the first time stray dogs have reportedly been culled prior to the World Cup. Animal activists in Brazil said homeless dogs were being rounded up before the games there in 2014. The Brazilian government denied killing the dogs, but activists pointed out that no temporary shelters were provided for the strays that disappeared.

“If they see a dog on the streets, they do not rescue, treat, and adopt… they just kill them,” Kalynara Melo, head of the Committee of Adoption and Liberty of Animals, said at the time.

As for Russia, there are about 2 million homeless dogs and cats roaming the streets of the cities hosting the World Cup. Instead of the government spending nearly $2 million to kill these strays, a much more humane and effective way to resolve the problem would be to spend all those rubles on sterilizing them.

It costs just over $100 to kill each dog, according to Burmatov. “For that money you can easily catch, vaccinate and sterilize an animal and keep it in a holding center,” he said.

A first step would be to spay and neuter all those dogs temporarily housed in shelters during the World Cup. Please sign and share this petition asking Kolobkov to sterilize the stray dogs instead of killing them.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Nena C
Nena Cabout a month ago

we can only hope and pray

Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dutkaabout a month ago

After Sochi Russia should not have been allowed to host anything else. As for this so called promise I'll believe it when (or more accurately if) I see it.

Sonia M

Petition signed thanks for sharing

Ingrid H
Past Member about a month ago

Thank you

Barbara I
Barbara Idso1 months ago

Russian should not be allowed to host games. They did the same thing before the Winter Olympics. The only way to ensure they change is to stop encouraging the behavior.

Marija K
Marija K1 months ago

Laura T, it doesn't seem enough to express disapproval for the dog killing, it never was - you need to take legal action against these firms and authorities as there are obvious money malversations going on. 100$ to kill a dog! Russia apparently thinks its citizens are drooling idiots.

Marija K
Marija K1 months ago

Animal protection associations and citizens of Russia, please appeal to your authorities to do a legal check up of these pest control firms' practices and the way they spend the money, it's the money taken out of pockets of the citizens of Russia to be spent on who-knows-what, and the welfare of street dogs is non of pest control's business anyway!

Marija K
Marija K1 months ago

This is exactly what has been regularly going on in Serbia for years - pest control firms are being hired to ''take care'' of street dogs. And they are taking hundreds of thousands of euros from the state budget supposedly for the expenses of ''caring'' for dogs in ''shelters'' which don't even exist!

There is NO WAY that it costs 100$ to kill a dog! Serbia and Russia are so enamored with each other that they even share the same passion for animal torture and killing.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner1 months ago

There's too many humans. 7.5 billion of them. Let's start culling the psychos that are a liability to the Earth, starting with the dog killers in Russian sports events.

GGmaSAway D
S Ann D1 months ago

I'll believe what Russia says right after I believe what Trump says...