Ukraine has decided to put a stop to the killing of stray dogs ahead of the Euro 2012 soccer championships next summer, bending to pressure from animal rights groups from all over the world.
Thousands of stray dogs have been killed in Ukraine over the past year, often poisoned or injected with illegal substances, in an apparent effort to clean city streets of strays ahead of the tournament.
The Environment Ministry has urged all the country’s mayors to stop putting down dogs ahead of the June event and build animal shelters instead.
“Today I am publicly turning to all city mayors – let us stop the deaths of those poor stray animals for half a year and build shelters together,” Mykola Zlochevsky, the environment minister, told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The statement followed a meeting with representatives of Naturewatch, a British group campaigning against animal cruelty in Ukraine. “This is a fantastic victory for Ukraine, its citizens and its animals,” John Ruane, the head of Naturewatch, said.