A big hearted Russian billionaire is stepping in to save hundreds of stray dogs from being exterminated because of the Winter Games.
Aluminum magnate Oleg V Deripaska is helping finance the rescue of the dogs of Sochi after the government authorised a pest removal company to exterminate all stray dogs found in the city.
Deripaska has funded a rescue effort in conjunction with his charity organisation Volnoe Delo.
"We were told, 'Either you take all the dogs from the Olympic Village or we will shoot them," Olga Melnikova, who is coordinating the rescue effort, told the New York Times.
Deripaska, who has amassed an $8.5 billion fortune, donated $15,000 to start the PovoDog shelter on land provided by the local government. He has also pledged $50,000 per year to keep it running.
The billionaire was also responsible for the construction of Sochi’s main road, seaport, airport and the Olympic Village.
A rescue cart is now making its way around the Olympic Village, bringing the stray animals to the PovoDog shelter — a play on the Russian word "povodok.
Mark Adams, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, told reporters only that "It would be absolutely wrong to say that any healthy dog will be destroyed."
The organisers of the Winter Games have come under increasing pressure in the last week, over claims of unsanitary and unfinished accommodation.