Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, will host the Eurovision 2012 song contest in just a few months. Given that the wildly popular TV event provides the Azerbaijani government a showcase for the energy-rich South Caucasus nation, efforts to spruce up the city are already in full swing. But an initiative designed to tackle Baku’s stray dog problem is sparking complaints from animal rights activists.
It’s the method used to address the issue that has dog-lovers upset. Officials are simply sending animal-control officers out into the streets with rifles and they are shooting strays. Activists contend that the policy violates international agreements covering basic animal rights.
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Khadija Ismayilova is a freelance reporter in Baku and hosts a daily program on current affairs broadcast by the Azeri Service of RFE/RL. Ulviyya Asadzade is a freelance reporter, based in Baku.