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Ukraine Activists Hound Council Over Dog Poisonings

A puppy at a Ukrainian animal shelter (undated)
A puppy at a Ukrainian animal shelter (undated)
LVIV, Ukraine -- Animal rights activists in western Ukraine are up in arms over a mysterious rash of dog poisonings in the city of Lviv, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

During the last few months, local media have reported weekly cases of dogs, not all of them strays, dying of poison.

In one recent incident, a labrador belonging to a member of Lviv Municipal Council died after consuming poison in a city park. Two dead stray dogs were found nearby.

Dozens of activists and their children have staged a protest under the slogan "Children Against Cruelty" to force local authorities to take action.

Protesters gathered outside the city-council building holding pictures of dogs poisoned by unknown perpetrators.

Yevhen Fursov, the chairman of the Animals Rights Defenders Society in Lviv, told RFE/RL that local forensic experts have managed to trace a toxic substance in one of the dogs killed by the poison but failed to determine its chemical structure.

Fursov speculated that just two or three people are engaged in regularly poisoning dogs in Lviv. He said local police have made no effort to apprehend the perpetrators, which is why his organization is trying to identify them.

Oleh Yuskiv, a veterinarian with the Lviv Municipal Council housing and infrastructure department, confirmed to RFE/RL that scores of dogs found dead in Lviv's streets and parks over the last few months were poisoned.

But he said tests failed to establish precisely what poison they had consumed. Yuskiv also rejected suggestions that the Lviv sanitary control services were involved.

Read more in Ukrainian here