Over the last few months, Sochi, this year’s Winter Olympics host city, has fallen under intense scrutiny. Some have called for a boycott of the 2014 Olympics because of Russia’s anti-gay policies, including a piece of legislation signed into law in June 2013 banning “homosexual propaganda.”

Others have been enraged by Russia’s disregard for animal protection including Sochi’s decision to use a captive dolphin as a torch bearer and the still pending transport of two wild-caught orcas to a Sochi dolphinarium.

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Now, looks like there is more sad news out of the Olympic host city. According to Peter Akman of CTV News, the city has gone back on its word and has resumed its plan to cull stray animals in an attempt to “clean up” the area for Olympic guests.

Originally, the plan was to kill around 2,000 dogs roaming Sochi’s streets, but as soon as this decision was announced last year, animal activists quickly spoke out against it, effectively canceling the cull.

However, Akman reports that the city has in fact hired a company to continue “cleaning the city.”

“Every night between 1 and 6 a.m., traps are set, poison put out and animals are killed,” Akman states.

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Concerned locals have been documenting the cull’s victims through photo and video footage and animal activist groups have again called on the city to end its futile population control method, urging Sochi to instead build a shelter for homeless animals.

According to Akman, “The government first said no, but it now seems to be considering allowing a private company to run a shelter. Not surprisingly, that’s the same company it hired to kill the dogs during the night.”

Unfortunately, we see poor animal protection decisions like these all too often, even right here in the U.S., but this does not mean we should accept defeat and stay silent. Instead, we must stay strong and be their voice.

What you can do

To offer your support for Sochi’s stray animals, sign this petition on Care2, asking Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, to halt Sochi’s cull. You can also send an email to the City of Sochi urging them to to focus on more effective overpopulation management solutions such as low cost sterilization and trap-neuter-release programs.

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Image source: Andrey / Flickr

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