Sochi, Russia has had a problem with stray dogs for years. There are not any animal shelters to be found in the city, so a pest control company has usually taken care of the problem when the numbers of strays get out of hand.
Alexei Sorokin is the director general of Basya Services, a local pest control company in Sochi. He told the Associated Press on Monday that his company has been getting rid of stray dogs in Sochi for years. He now has a contract to exterminate the dogs throughout the Olympic games.
Sorokin said his company is involved in "catching and disposing" of the animals, but said he wouldn't disclose whether the dogs were shot or poisoned, or where and how the carcasses were disposed of. He did say there were thousands of stray dogs roaming the streets, and sometimes they bite the children.
Sorokin said he attended a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony for the games last week, and, "A dog ran into the Fisht Stadium, we took it away,” he said. “God forbid something like this happens at the actual opening ceremony. This will be a disgrace for the whole country.” According to Mr. Sorokin, the strays pose a danger to the games.
“Imagine, if during an Olympic games, a ski jumper landed at 130 kilometers an hour (over 80 mph) and a dog runs into him when he lands. It would be deadly for both a jumper and for the stray dog,” he told ABC. "Let’s call these things by their real name." Sorokin disdainfully added, "These dogs are biological trash."
It is estimated that over 2,000 stray cats and dogs roaming Sochi's streets and the surrounding area are in the plans for culling through 2015. Sochi official, Sergei Krivonosov has argued that putting them in shelters would take too much time. In April of 2013, Sochi officials cancelled a plan to get rid of the city's strays after receiving no bids for the job of culling the animals.
Sochi officials were prepared to pay more than 1.7 million rubles (about $54,000) for “work to catch and dispose of” the more than 2,000 dogs and cats in 2013-2015. A statement by Sochi officials on April 18, 2013 said " from now on they would oblige tender respondents to have facilities for keeping, treating and sterilizing animals." Officials further said a plot of land had already been put aside for the building of a shelter, soon to be constructed.
Stray animals are not just a problem in Sochi. Stray dogs and cats also roam the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities, left to fend for themselves because people can no longer afford to keep them. Sochi also has a problem with many of the stray dogs carrying rabies, a danger to domestic pets and people.