Just this week, CTV News exposed the 2014 Winter Olympic city of Sochi’s dark secret: that stray animals are being culled through poison traps in order to “clean up” the area for Olympic guests.

Originally, the plan was to exterminate 2,000 stray animals wandering Sochi’s streets. However, local animal advocates quickly spoke up against the decision and it seemed as if it had been defeated once and for all.

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However, the culling of “biological waste,” as director of pest control firm Basya Services Alexei Sorokin called the animals, has in fact been happening rather quietly over the last few months.

Concerned locals have been documenting the cruel nighttime culls while others have attempted to save some of the dogs. Russian billionaire, Oleg Deripaska, for example, has helped open Sochi’s first animal shelter this week, PovoDog, in an attempt to save as many street dogs as possible. The shelter is a make-shift one for now, without electricity or running water, but has so far been able to take in 100 dogs.

Local concern has quickly spiraled into international outrage this week with animal lovers all over the world standing in solitary with Sochi’s stray dogs and cats.

Hashtags like #SochiDogs and #dogsofSochi have been trending on Twitter over the last few days and online petitions have been popping up like crazy. (Want to sign one? Check out Care2’s or Humane Society International’s).

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Even a photo campaign on social media platforms has taken off with dogs speaking out against Sochi’s stray animal cull by showing the world that dogs are not “biological waste” – they are individuals with distinct personalities, desires, and fears who deserve protection and respect.

Check out just some of the photos from the #SochiDogs photo campaign below available via Pete and Tally’s Facebook page, and be sure to spread the word so that we can end this cull!

Pete and Tally / Facebook

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Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

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Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Pete and Tally / Facebook

Lead image source: Pete and Tally / Facebook

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