Sochi officials have announced that they hope to make their city safer and more appealing by killing more than 2,000 stray cats and dogs before the 2014 Winter Olympics, according to the RBC Daily newspaper.
"It's obvious that there should be no animals on the streets," Sergei Krivonosov, a government official, told the paper. "We have responsibilities to the international community. Killing [strays] is just a faster way to solve this task."
Russian press has reported public protests in response to the announcement. Gleb Fetisov, chairman of the Green Alliance-People's Party, has asked Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to intercede.
"The authorities in Sochi seem to have forgotten that the Olympics are a demonstration of not only sporting achievements but also principles of humanity," Fetisov was quoted as saying.
Authorities have stated that housing all the strays in shelters would be too expensive. They have budgeted $54,000 for "work to catch and dispose of" the animals.