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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
Russian journalist and activist Zoya Svetova (file photo)

Russian police have searched the Moscow apartment of Zoya Svetova, a rights activist and journalist with ties to Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Open Russia organization, colleagues say.

Lawyer Anna Stavitskaya wrote on Facebook on February 28 that an investigator and 10 other people were conducting a search in Svetova's home.

Stavitskaya said documents related to the search results were still being processed by authorities on February 28.

Stavitskaya said the search, which included examination of Svetova's computers, was linked to a continuing investigation into Khodorkovsky and other former officials of Yukos, the oil company he headed.

Yukos was broken up and sold at auction after Khodorkovsky was arrested on financial charges in 2003.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin and left Russia after serving 10 years in prison following two trials supporters said were engineered by the Kremlin to punish him for challenging Putin and to put Yukos in state hands.

Svetova writes for Open Russia, which promotes human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Russia, and for the New Times newspaper.

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