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"You can serve 15 days in jail, or we can shoot your dog." The choice is almost too ridiculous to be real. Unfortunately, for one man in Ashgabat — the capital city of the ex-Soviet republic of Turkmenistan — that was a choice he actually had to make.

The president of this little-heard-of country isn't the biggest fan of pets. In fact, he actually fired an employee for having the nerve to let a cat cross his path.

But while his eccentricities might seem a bit extreme, what he is doing to the stray cats and dogs of Turkmenistan is even worse. According to several sources, over the years, President Berdymukhamedov has unleashed a wave of terror on the dogs and cats in the republic by ordering officers to conduct a full-scale killing of any stray.

The president's men lay poisoned meat out for the homeless dogs and cats who already have a tough life as it is. These hungry animals don't think twice before chowing down on the goodies and then experience a slow and painful death.

And since there is no way to control which animals take the bait, people's pets even get caught up in the massacre.

Recently, the country's first animal shelter has opened up aptly named "Island of Hope." There are now better, more humane ways to control the stray cat and dog population. But it's up to us to join animal activists in Ashgabat and around the world to ask the president to end the animal killings and instead support and create more animal shelters to house homeless dogs and cats.