In the days preceding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, many preparations were made in the small city to hold such a popular, worldwide event. One of these preparations included the quiet slaughter of thousands of stray dogs by a pest control group, Basya Service, hired by the Sochi government.
One of the reasons behind this mass extermination was the claim that the dogs would “bite children,” and that it would be dangerous to let the large amount of strays wander the streets as they normally would on any other day in Sochi. An incident occurred in which a stray wandered into one of the rehearsals of the opening ceremony for the Olympics, and, in the words of Basya Service director Alexei Sorokin, it would have been “a disgrace for the whole country” had that occurred during the actual event.
The method to the eradication of these strays is unconfirmed. However, one Sochi local claimed to have witnessed trucks full of dead strays with poison darts protruding from their bodies. Pictures of this scene were given by the local to Vlada Provotorova, an organizer of a group of friends and volunteers who aim to catch as many strays as possible and put them in makeshift shelters. They also sterilized and vaccinated these dogs, and are currently looking for legitimate, permanent shelters in which to place them.
But despite this small group’s efforts, by Feb. 5, they had only managed to save around 100 dogs, while an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 had already been killed. Basya Service has also received orders from Sochi’s city hall to continue the extermination of these animals throughout the Olympics, since it is apparently the quickest, if not the most humane, way of fixing this problem.