MOSCOW -- Animal rights activists in Moscow are up in arms at a plan to move all the stray dogs from shelters in the Russian capital to a new larger one some 200 kilometers away, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
The Moscow municipal council plans to move around 12,000 dogs from numerous animal shelters in Moscow to a single specially built shelter in Yaroslav Oblast, northeast of the city.
Animal rights activists say it is cruel to deport the dogs and crowd so many into one place.
Some 100 activists gathered in front of the Presidential Office in Moscow on October 12 to protest the plan.
Many of the demonstrators were accompanied by their own pets at the protest.
The activists wrote their demand "not to implement the plan to deport animals from Moscow to Yaroslav Oblast" on postcards depicting animals. The postcards also bore the slogan "Let Us Remove the Authorities from the Feeding Trough!"
Some of the activists brought their pets with them to the protest. Police allowed the protesters to enter the Presidential Office three at a time to leave their written demands there.
Yelena Nadezhkina of the Animals Rescue Information center in Moscow told RFE/RL that half the dogs will certainly die on their way to the new shelter.
"It is not possible to keep that number of animals in a single shelter. There is a risk that viruses could mutate and the dogs will be sick all the time," Nadezhkina said.
Nadezhkina said the activists staged a similar protest in front of the Moscow Mayor's office on September 20, but "the mayor did not hear us."
Nadezhkina said the activists will continue fighting to stop the planned "deportation of dogs." She said Moscow officials cannot comprehend the concept of animal rights.
Read more in Russian and see more photos here