A stray dog lies on the ground while a bus is passing by at Mountain Cluster on February 5, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Credit: Getty Images
Following gruesome reports that stray dogs in Sochi were ordered to be killed by the Russian government ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, a petition has been launched demanding the International Olympic Committee never allow such actions again.
The plan to slay as many as 2,000 stray animals in an attempt to clean up Sochi before the arrival of visitors sparked international outcry when it was announced in April. The Russian government backpedalled but reportedly hired a private company to move forward with the grim task.
Hundreds of animals were culled using poisonous bait before activists, as well as Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, stepped in to rescue them from the streets and put them up for adoption.
The Humane Society of the United States launched a petition on change.org calling on IOC President Thomas Bach to prevent the killing of stray animals in connection to the Olympics in the future.
The petition states, "It’s too late for the street dogs already killed in Sochi, but this sort of tragic spectacle must never be allowed to happen in any future Olympics – anywhere. The world looks to the IOC to hold host cities to the highest standards."
The petition, called "IOC: Don't allow cruelty under your watch," is gaining rapid support, surpassing 5,500 signatures Tuesday.
"Instead of feeling positive about the 2014 Olympic games, all I can feel is horror," Sarah Duane of Rockford, Minn. wrote. "I have not watched any of the events because I'm so disgusted with the actions of the host country and the IOC."
Dana Patraw, another supporter wrote, "Innocent animals should not be slaughtered for the sake of appearances or politics. They were crazy to choose Russia anyway."