The number of people being mauled by dogs in Russia is rising rapidly.
Many blame the trend on the country's rush towards capitalism.
Some owners, unable to afford to keep their pets, throw them out on the streets, while a growing number of people, fearing criminal attack, are acquiring attack dogs to protect themselves and their property.
Andrei Babanov is preparing the tools of his trade - Ditilin, a paralysing drug, and syringes.
Despite Russia's crime-ridden reputation, Babanov is no mafia-killer.
His gun is loaded not to maime but to capture the hundreds of stray dogs roaming St Petersburg.
He works at night or early in the morning when less people, particularly children, are on the streets. Many find the shootings, if only of a paralysing drug, upsetting.
It's a thankless task and Babanov and his assistant have often felt the wrath of the city's many animal-lovers who have even threatened them with guns.
But Babanov believes his work is essential.
There are a lot of stray dogs in the city. Not just a thousand but many many thousands of dogs. Lots of them have been thrown out by their owners. Now that times are hard people can barely feed themselves let alone their dogs
SUPER CAPTION: Andrei Babanov, dog catcher
The accident unit at St Petersburg's city centre clinic sees between 25 and 35 people a day who've been attacked by dogs.
It's thought that the real number of maulings could be a lot higher because many injuries are sustained by pet owners who don't report attacks, fearing their dogs may be put down.
Victims often feel the real problem is not the dogs but the owners who are to blame.
"Wild dogs of course should be put down. But dogs who have owners should be kept under control. In most of the cases when dogs bite people is because the owners have neglected them."
SUPER CAPTION: Vladimir Manushen, victim of dog attack
Sometimes it isn't just neglected dogs that pose a danger.
More and more owners are acquiring dogs as a means of protection in Russia's increasingly violent society.
At this dog show, one of the competitions involved provoking the animals to bite.
Rottweilers are particularly popular, although many of their owners live in cramped apartments unsuited to keeping such big dogs.
Andrei lives with his family in one of St Petersburg's many communal apartments, sharing a kitchen, bathroom and entrance with several other families.
He doesn't believe keeping his large dog in such conditions makes the dog aggressive.
"I only have a problem with drunks. Smart dogs have a very strong sense for bad people and he won't just attack with no reason. Even so I always keep my dog on a leash."
SUPER CAPTION: Andre, dog owner
People still continue to acquire big dogs in Russia either for protection or just for show.
Many feel that the laws aren't strong enough to penalise owners for unruly pets or to compel them to train their dogs properly.
Meanwhile the dog population continues to grow and with ever- decreasing government finance, dogcatchers like those in St Petersburg are fighting a losing battle against the next generation of strays.
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