Poisoned darts, blowguns and the ‘canine KGB death squads’ cleaning up Russian cities ahead of the World Cup

On a rainy morning in January, Vachagan Emeksuzyan, 30, was driving near his home in the seaside city of Sochi when he saw a bright spot on the brown roadside. 

He stopped and got out, to find to his shock a sandy-coloured neighbourhood dog that he had known for years, lying dead in the runoff water with a dart in its side.

According to Mr Emeksuzyan and animal rights activists, this was one of hundreds of stray dogs and cats killed by city contractors as Sochi gets ready to host football powerhouses like Germany and Portugal for the World Cup next month.

“I had fed this dog, it had come into our yard. It was a big healthy male dog,” Mr Emeksuzyan recalled. “It’s really sad that they’re solving…

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