Sochi Stray Dogs Being Smuggled Out of Harm's Way by Volunteers

Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 06:58 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Sochi stray dogs are being smuggled out of the Russian city by volunteers over fears the animals might be killed by a company hired by the local government to eradicate all strays during the Winter Olympics.

The move to kill the dogs, many of which are said to be friendly, did not sit well with a group of Russian animal advocates who have launched a rescue effort in Sochi to prevent unnecessary killing of the stray dogs.

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Through the efforts of a dedicated few, stray dogs in Sochi have been rounded up and transported via car, truck, and whatever means available to the homes of animal lovers beyond the city limits as well as temporary shelters which in some cases are upwards of 1,000 miles away, the Associated Press reported.

Two of those animal-loving volunteers saving the lives of stray dogs in Sochi are Alexei, who would not provide his last name to the AP, and his wife Dina Fillipova.

"I like dogs but that's not the point," Fillipova says. "You know, even if you don't like children and don't want to have one, when you see a baby lying on the street bleeding or find out about maniacs hunting for children, you would want to do something to help."

Sochi has in particular seen an influx of dogs being brought in to guard temporary construction sites in the run up to the Olympics. With the conclusion of construction, the dogs apparently lost their value and many were subsequently released onto the street to fend for themselves, the AP noted.

"Dogs live on construction sites, workers feed them, give them names," Fillipova says. "Once the construction is over the dogs are left behind."

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After loading the dogs into the back of the SUV, Fillipova and her husband set out on a 75-mile trip along the Black Sea coast to a softly-spoken retired businessman and fellow animal lover Igor Airapetian, who met them in the plaza of a town called Tuapse.

"My beauties!" an elated Airapetian yells as the dogs are transferred from Fillipova's vehicle to his, the AP reported.

"It was just a coincidence," Airapetian said when asked why he decided to help taking out dogs from Sochi. "I saw that post (in the social media) and decided to help."

Airapetian along with an animal-loving companion will then transport the dogs on a thousand-mile journey to Moscow where he says he has several animal-lovers seeking to adopt the dogs or foster them until they can be placed with an appropriate person or family.

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