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IOC Faces Questions About Sochi Security, Stray Dogs

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USA TODAY

From the International Olympic Committee's perspective, all is well with preparations for the Sochi Games, which open Friday. Still, questions remain.

The Australian Olympic Committee imposed travel restrictions on team members in Sochi, advising athletes not to travel to downtown areas outside the secure perimeter. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Sunday he wasn't aware of any other countries imposing similar restrictions.

"We believe security is being handled well by Russian authorities," Adams said.

Two suicide bombings in late December that killed 34 people in Volgograd, 400 miles from Sochi, have raised security concerns to an unprecedented level.

According to ABC News, Sochi hired a private company to kill as many of its stray dogs as possible ahead of the opening ceremony, despite a pledge not to kill the animals. Adams said the issue wasn't raised Sunday at the IOC meetings.

The owner of the company, Alexei Sorokin, told ABC News he did not know how many dogs his company has removed from the streets. Sorokin said his company generally uses poisons and traps but denied suggestions of animal cruelty. He described his work as a public service. "Let's call things by their real name. These dogs are biological trash," he said.

After criticism from animal welfare groups last April, Sochi officials said they canceled plans to kill more than 2,000 stray cats and dogs. Instead, the city pledged to pursue an alternate route of "keeping, treating and sterilizing animals," according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

If athletes want to make a statement about Russia's anti-gay legislation, they aren't permitted to demonstrate on the podium but can express their opinions at news conferences, Adams said, reiterating comments IOC President Thomas Bach made last week.

 

February 3, 2014

 

 
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