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Activists protest alleged dog-killings by shelter for strays in Baku

9 July 2021
Image via video still.

Animal rights activists staged a protest in front of the Toplan Centre for Stray Dogs in Baku. They have claimed that rather than taking care of the stray dogs the centre kills them.

The 8 July protest was attended by roughly two dozen protesters, who held up signs and chanted ‘don’t kill dogs’. Shortly after the demonstration began, police broke up the protest and detained five participants. 

Nijat Ismayilov, one of the detainees, told OC Media that police took the activists to a police station in violation of their right to freedom of assembly and that they were treated like ‘savages’. 

He said that they were interrogated for ‘two to three hours’ before being released and added that he and other activists would continue their protests ‘every week until the injustice and cruelty against dogs ends’.

Activists have also demanded that the Toplan centre make its operations transparent, as they believe that roughly ₼60 million ($35 million) that was given to the centre by the Heydar Aliyev foundation — a charitable organisation headed by Mehriban Aliyeva, Azerbaijan’s First Lady and Vice-President — was ‘mis-used’. 

The Toplan Care Centre for Stray Dogs, located in the Baku settlement of Balakhani, was established as part of a joint project of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Baku City Executive Power and has been operating since Winter of 2019.

This is the second protest against the Toplan Centre. In April, Police dispersed a previous demonstration by animal rights activists against the killing of stray dogs.

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