The stray dogs of Sochi, easily one of the biggest stories to come out of the 2014 Winter Games, have won the hearts of Olympians and fans alike.
American freeskier Gus Kenworthy not only took home a silver medal but also several puppies he found on the streets of Sochi. Team USA ice hockey player David Backes is taking home a dog and helping to connect other strays with new owners in the U.S. Snowboard cross Olympian Lindsey Jacobellis also came home with a puppy. But despite the many Olympians who personally got involved with the animal rescue, the overpopulation of street dogs will likely continue to persist.
It is unclear just how many strays walk the streets of Sochi, but local animal rights workers say that many local families once owned the now-homeless dogs. These families’ homes were destroyed during Olympic venue construction and displaced to apartments that didn’t allow or looked down upon pets, according to the New York Times. The newspaper also noted that Russia does not have proper spaying and neutering animal control policies in place.