Countries such as Greece and the Ukraine are being encouraged to adopt a Catch-Neuter-Release program, to, tackle their increasing problem of stray dogs. It also aims to improve humane education, public awareness and enforce animal welfare legislation.As we have already reported the Ukraine instead has opted for the brutal killing of stray dogs and cats to "clean up its streets" before the UEFA 2012 football competition.It now seems that Greece is no better. Our latest report arrived today by way of an animal supporter and it makes for grim reading. The writer has opted to contact the Mayor of Hersonisos on the Greek Island of Crete to voice her anger. It reads,
Mayor of Hersonisos Municipality Mr. Doxastakis Dear Sir, I read the report concerning Hersonisos Municipality’s progressive and welcome decision to invest in managing the stray dog population problem through Catch-Neuter-Release programs, humane education, public awareness and enforcing animal welfare legislation. Now I understand it HAS BEEN REVERSED!! I realise that Greece is in a recession, but can you not see how vital these programs are for Hersonisos and Crete. The reputation of this island's animal care and welfare is in a deplorable and worsening state. This seriously affects many thousands of prospective tourists who check out the animal care situation prior to their vacation plans. Hersonisos Municipality’s promised improvements have been promoted across social networks and were received as a positive and progressive move forward. Reversing this decision will undoubtedly be viewed with profound disappointment. Many visitors to Crete leave in distress because of personal traumatic experiences and will never return. My family, friends and I have no wish to visit again. Sadly, despite Greek Law which calls for Municipality responsibility, Hersonisos now it seems, plans to set aside humane and progressive stray animal action. Yours faithfully, The above letter
has been sent to the media and various travel companies also. If you agree please forward the letter to the authorities, Greek embassy and local media.Yes Greece is in a financial mess but it is shortsighted to act in such a way. Only yesterday on TEK we reported how Greece badly needs visitors this year more than ever. Now having encouraged readers to take a chance on Greece once more we feel
that the opposite is probably true.It is false economy to sacrifice these animals as
it will guarantee many potential visitors stay away. Can Greece afford to neglect a more humane alternative? We think not.(Below is the Mayor's initial response to the letter
The London Marathon 2012 will take place next weekend. On Sunday April 22, a wide range of runners will tread the streets of London as they compete in this now annual event. In order to take part runners need a purpose, that is a charity to support, and they need to be able to raise money.
For some runners the main aim of the day is fun, for others it is a serious sporting event and for a great many it is a good way to raise money for a favourite charity. Many charities with runners participating in the marathon will be looking for sponsors and also to raise much needed funds. As is the usual case they are all well deserving charities. It is up to you who you choose to support. After all "you earns your money, you makes your choice"
If you are an animal lover, who supports animal charities the GAR marathon runner could be the one for you. Here is a little information from the Greek Animal Rescue website:
" Please sponsor GAR supporter Stewart Ferris who will be running in the London Marathon on 22 April in aid of Greek Animal Rescue, a cause which became close to his heart after the rescue of a Greek dog and her 4 puppies and another dog a few months ago. All 6 dogs were brought into the UK by Stewart and his wife Katia. They adopted Mary, the mother of the pups (blinded in one eye) and found loving homes for the puppies and for the male adult. Having become aware about the plight of animals in Greece they pledged to support GAR and 'spread the word' about our work to help as many animals as we can.
Please sponsor Stewart and help animals in Greece; every penny counts. Thank - you"
Note: The race will be aired live on UK TV.
Tags: London Marathon, GAR, Greek Animal Rescue, marathon runners raise money, sponsoring a marathon runner, London, serious runners
The first rumours about a new Animal Welfare Law started circulating many months ago, but nobody paid much attention, after all, even the previous animal welfare laws were never enforced - what would make the new Law any different?? While the Greeks are struggling through what is theworst political and financial crisis they have had to deal with for decades, the Greek government somehow ‘found time’ to debate new legislation concerning animal welfare issues. The ONLY positive aspect of the new law is a ban on circuses with performing animals.In addition, heavier penalties have been set up for those who abuse or kill an animal (meaning dogs or cats,
rather than livestock), but who will enforce the law???
Greece has a history of unenforced laws. The worst clause in the new Law is that anybody who rescues and tries to home dogs or cats abroad would be seen as an illegal trafficker and face a potentially very heavy fine. Unbelievably, many Greeks, including several government bodies, continue to believe that dogs from Greece are being sent to laboratories in Germany and for furs
(why are the Germans always being the ‘bad guys?!) despite the fact that not one shred of evidence has ever been brought forth to substantiate these claims. Representatives of Animal Welfare Unions were present at two parliamentary debates, but they were mocked and barely given an opportunity to put across their points and concerns. Nothing was mentioned about the notorious puppy trade & pet shops or the terrible zoos.
‘New’ Animal Welfare Law ...... a farce!!!
Source Greek Animal Rescue Spring newsletter
Apprehension before a visit to Greece
I had a strangely uncomfortable premonition about last year’s visit to Greece. In the months leading to the trip, the financial crisis in the country worsened, resulting in ever more dogs being abandoned, including small, elderly and pedigree dogs. The number of calls for help received had of course also increased and being on the receiving end of the calls and emails, I began to feel quite exasperated. In some cases we were able to help, but too often not. And the calls were/are not only from Greek animal rescuers, but also from expats (British and other nationalities), some of who had been living in Greece for many years. Unfortunately when they made the decision to
return to their respective countries (mainly for financial reasons) many of them had not thought about the dogs and cats they had acquired over the years, mostly through adoption of strays. Callously some of these poor animals had been/are being simply left behind to fend for themselves after their ‘owners’ leave Greece for good, others try to fi nd homes for them within Greece, but not very successfully.
Of course there are those who would (thankfully!) never abandon their animals and they do whatever is necessary to take them with them. Others turn to internet in search of organisations who would help find homes for them and we receive many such calls for help. Every case is different, but while there are times we can help directly, often we can only give advice, suggest various options, but in most cases try to persuade people to take the animals with them and find homes for them in their respective countries if they are unable to keep them, but to please not leave them behind!! Sometimes it upsets me greatly to deal with people who expect to be helped but show little interest into putting any effort into trying to solve their problem.... in fact they hardly see it as ‘their’ problem.
The apprehension I felt prior to going to Greece remained with me upon my return and is still present. How can it not be when I see the situation getting steadily worse instead of better! My apprehension is shared by all those involved in rescue work ‘on the ground’, because everybody is struggling to keep their heads above water (financially), but the vets are not dropping their ...... then they are complaining that they have no work and accusing foreign vets of working illegally in Greece!! Always pointing a finger of blame at everybody but themselves!! Typical!!
The Greek Island of Crete is a favourite holiday destination. Visitors come from around the globe but especially from Germany and the UK. As with all Greek Islands a vacation will involve encounters with cats and dogs. There are always some wandering the streets. Some appear cared for but all are always on the slim side. If you look a little further you may see the sorry side of animal welfare in Greece. Neglected dogs and cats with rib cages jutting out of skinny bodies. GAR, Greek Animal Rescue,
carries many tales of woe. Here is just one that was forwarded to TEKJournalismUK."A photo report
about the many "barrel dogs" we found during a trip in Crete from November 2009 until February 2010. These dogs are used as tools, instead of cattle grids, to restrict the movement of sheep and goats. That is what they want us to believe...Forced to live chained up on one metre chains or shorter, with old rusty barrels for kennels, or even no barrels or any protection whatsoever. Mostly living down deserted roads and tracks rarely seeing anyone. Their shelters do not provide suitable shelter during bad weather and they are like ovens during the summer months providing no relief from the scorching sun. To add to their misery they have some dirty water or no water at all, inapropriate food or no food at all.
They are mostly young dogs craving human companionship, most of them die before they are one year old.These dogs are overjoyed when they receive a kind word and a gentle touch, how harrowing it for us was continuing our way, to hear the dogs bark, cry and strain at the end of chains as if saying: Please come back, I only want some love and attention......"Please donate if you can. Thank you
GAR’s 20th Sponsored Dog Walk & Picnic Sunday 12 June 2011
Despite the fact that it was raining a bit on the day of the walk, we had the biggest turn-out to date. Looking at the photo, one wouldn’t think there were more than 20 dogs present, but there must have been close to 100 and almost as many people. Not all dogs - or their humans - were keen
to ‘pose’ and getting the group to stay still for more than a minute was a job in itself.
GAR’s 21st Sponsored Dog Walk & Picnic - Sunday 10 June at 11.30am
Every year the number of participants grows and we hope that this year will be no different. Apart from the fun of meeting and greeting old and new 2 legged and 4-legged friends, this event is a reminder that there are countless animals in Greece who are born and die without ever knowing the joys of having a warm home, be loved and cared for, never be fearful and sadly so much more, or should that be less.
Other ways to help - Give as you live
Getting involved is possible no matter where you are in the world. At no cost to you, you can raise money for Greek Animal
Rescue every time you shop online with Give as you Live.Thousands of brands including Amazon, Debenhams, Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsburys have signed up to donate to us when you shop with them online. Give as you Live will even donate an extra £5 to us when you spend £10 or more!
You shop online and thousands of Give as you Live retailers will donate back a percentage of whatever you spend to Greek Animal Rescue. With over 12 million products and 1,300 retailers to choose from, raising money has never been easier. You don’t pay any extra for the items than you would normally and with the Give as you Live shopping App, GAR will receive on average, 2.5% of every pound you spend online. This means you can turn every gift, every holiday and every new pair of boots you buy online into funds for GAR.
Many of you have, I’m sure, started to wonder if GAR is still in existence, but I assure you we are working harder than ever to help animals in Greece. This is partly the reason why the newsletter,
which was supposed to have been out before December ’11, is so late. On page 3, I have
written in more detail about the economic crisis Greece has been plunged into, but I’m sure you
have seen the TV news reports showing riots in Athens and around all of Greece. Unfortunately,
the fi rst casualties of any economic crisis are the animals and in Greece these victims are mainly
dogs. Larger animals such as horses and donkeys don’t fare much better. Riding stables are closing down, donkeys are becoming more expendable and the cost of food and care has increased resulting in many of these animals being abandoned.
In future the GAR Newsletters will go by ‘issue numbers’ (current issue being No. 65) rather than as Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, because I find it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain such a strict a time-table at times when the workload is particularly heavy. Sadly, I will also have to shorten the newsletters. I don’t know any other organisations that produce as detailed newsletters as GAR’s have been, but while working on them has been rewarding, it is also very time-consuming. Since I started preparing the current issue, so much has happened that I could almost rewrite most of it now. However, this newsletter is meant to be largely a report of my last trip to Greece, visiting some of the people and organisations we support and meeting other animal rescuers who may need our help in the future. There will be another newsletter towards the end of July, but a much shorter version. I also have to bear in mind the increasing cost of printing and postage. I’m sure that you will understand and remain loyal to our cause of helping needy animals in Greece.
More to follow