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Police probe alleged poisoning of dogs in Moscow

Russia Dogs Killing S_Bake.jpg

In this Thursday Sept. 20, 2012 photo, a muzzled dog, in a park, where dozens of dogs were killed in a mass poisoning of dogs in a Moscow park. On Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, police opened a criminal probe into the suspected poisoning of animals by dog killers, the latest such incident in Russia where cruelty to animals is common and animal protection laws are rarely enforced. This well-heeled neighborhood has always cherished its enormous park, where they could give their dog a moment's respite from cramped city living and let them frolic without a leash in the grass or in the snow. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

Cruelty to animals has long been a problem in Russia, with animal protection laws loosely enforced and packs of stray dogs, uncared for by the state, left to roam the streets of Moscow.

But that cruelty has taken on a new dimension and sparked a public outcry with a recent spree of dog poisonings in a posh neighborhood in Moscow. Dozens of dogs have died, allegedly after eating poison concealed in scraps of meat left in a park where pets were being walked.

On Friday, police opened a criminal investigation.

Vera Lesovets, whose 5-year-old Corgie died that way, blames what she calls dog hunting, a hobby gaining ground in the Russian online community.

"They have websites," she said. "They write how they kill them, post photographs, tell you which poison is better and where to buy it."