Some Chinese dog owners will have to make the decision soon whether to get rid of their pets or not. If they don’t, the government may come and kill them. Officials in the Dayang New District of eastern China has said dogs, even if they are registered and vaccinated, will be killed on the spot if seen, the Daily Mail reported. The government said the strict order is an attempt to keep the region clean.

“Dogs are always defecating all over the place and bothering people,” one unidentified worker from a village committee told the Daily Mail. “A lot of people were complaining so we wrote a public notice to avoid a conflict.”

China’s relationship with dogs and their owners has been a contentious one for years. During the first few decades of the People’s Republic of China, established in 1949, dog ownership was essentially outlawed, with the government saying it was bourgeois and a waste of resources, according to CBS News. 

Restrictions on dog ownership in China have increased in recent years, but the practice has grown in the country despite these limitations. China does not have any laws relating to animal cruelty, and many in China still believe dogs are a public threat.

There are still people in China who eat the meat of dogs, something a very small animal rights movement in China has being trying to stop. One district in China has a dog meat eating festival every year, where some 10,000 dogs are served to people as food.

Activists have said these dogs arrive at the festival sometimes diseased and malnourished, often stolen from individual homes. Some activists try to buy dogs intended for meat so they can save them, CNN reported.

Eating dog had been popular for years, and one could routinely see dogs being killed for their meat around Beijing's suburbs, one activist told CNN. The practice of eating dog has since become less trendy in recent years.