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Authorities and activists are trying to stop what they say is the mass killing of stray dogs in Russia's Daghestan region following a girl's death in what reports said was a dog attack.

Officials in Daghestan's capital, Makhachkala, called on residents to stop shooting stray dogs on February 27, warning that killing animals is punishable by law.

A petition on the website to protest the mass killing of dogs had received some 20,000 signatures by February 28.

Media reports on February 19 said that a nine-year-old girl was killed by a pack of stray dogs in Makhachkala.

With reporting by