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Olympic committee defends stray dog cull in Sochi

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Stray dogs sit outside the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course, a venue for the snowboarding and freestyle competitions of the 2014 Winter Olympics (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Stray dogs sit outside the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course, a venue for the snowboarding and freestyle competitions of the 2014 Winter Olympics (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Stray dogs sit outside the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course, a venue for the snowboarding and freestyle competitions of the 2014 Winter Olympics (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

A campaign to kill stray dogs is putting Winter Olympics organisers on the defensive.

The International Olympic Committee said only sick strays in Russian host city Sochi are being exterminated, and others are just being taken away so they cannot disrupt the February 7-23 Games.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams, pressed about the campaign, said the dogs are being "taken into custody" and only the sick or dying are being killed.

Humane Society International sent a letter asking president Vladimir Putin to stop the culling.

And a Scottish member of the European Parliament said the killing "stains the snow of Sochi with blood".

Struan Stevenson said that while Mr Putin cuddled a leopard in a show of environmental concern this week, he should have used some of the billions spent on the Olympics on animal shelters.

PA Media