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As well-known, Greece is faced the financial crisis and an incredible number of animals are being abandoned by their owners on the streets, becoming the first victims of the recession. It is a real shame that pets are the first to pain when the owners must cut costs.
Volunteers of animal welfare groups found abandoned dogs tied to benches and trees, after that owners leave them unable to keep of taking care. Dogs and cats dumped on the roads, fed by their owners for long, do not have any chance of fending by themselves. Kittens and puppies are tied in plastic bags and thrown into bins or driven to the countryside and abandoned to their destiny.
Unfortunately, the recession hits also animal welfare groups because of fewer donations from supporters and from the State as well. On the other side, obviously the number of strays and emergencies grows.
Despite this, animal organizations do all is in their power to continue feeding, vaccinating and sterilizing strays.
Since 2003, Greek law requires city councils to catch-neuter-release only stray dogs, while programs for cats are conducted by NGOs like Nine Lives Greece, OIPA member league. This group of volunteers, based in Athens, started on 2006 activities to helps stray cats, conducting feeding and neutering programs in the capital but also on the islands, sending volunteer veterinaries especially where there are no local ones.

Catching and feeding programs of Nine Lives Greece

Their goal is the humane reduction of the overpopulation through the catch-neuter-release program. They neuter about 600 cats each year and feed daily more than 250 cats in the central area of Athens and hand out food to several pensioners who feeding cats too.

Additionally, Nine Lives tries to find homes for cats and kittens, especially for those too vulnerable to survive on the streets. During 2012, they founded homes for 80 kittens and cats.
Volunteers know all cats one by one, so they can inform each other if a cat is sick or need treatments or if there is a new one. Unfortunately, the incredible work of this organization is limited by lack of funds, facilities and manpower. Nine Lives does not receive funds or assistance from the State. To get donations, they organizes various activities such as mini yoga lessons, massages, manicures but also short marathons.
On the islands the situation of strays is not better at all. Millions of tourists from all over the world visit Greece and Greek islands every year and many are shocked by the sights of animals in distress.
Paws & Claws Animal Rescue Rhodes, an OIPA member league rescuing, neutering and finding adoption for strays, referred us that the government allows veterinaries from other countries to neuter/spay stray animals for free but not the ones belonging to people unable to pay from 80 to 300 euros for an operation.
So these owned animals are leaved free in the street unsprayed and they reproduce each other, increasing the number of strays.

Animals rescued by Paws & Claws Animal Rescue Rhodes

Then, puppies being dumped in garbage bins or outside of animal shelters.

A representative of the Paws and Claws Animal Rescue told us that another among biggest problems of Rhodes is about hunters and shepherds whose dogs live in terrible hygienic conditions, with no veterinary care.

Two dogs rescued by Paws & Claws, founded with no water,
no food, chained and sick

On the small island of Ikaria there is an overpopulation of stray animals too, especially cats. The Ikaria Animal Welfare Volunteer Group, OIPA member league, due to the bad situation of strays in their province often organised neutering programs. The veterinary team operated 50-60 stray animals and they treated other animals with serious problems too.

This animal welfare group also monitors dogs used by shepherds to control their goats. These dogs, called “barrel dogs” live in miserable conditions, chained up on tracks, so the group often sues the shepherds. Fortunately, due to these controls, many shepherds have improved the welfare conditions of their dogs, although the Ikaria Animal Welfare Group is working to put an end to this cruel practice.

Dogs chained from Ikaria

Please helps strays in Greece, make a donation!

Nine Lives Greece
Paws & Claws Animal Rescue Rhodes

Elisa Norelli
OIPA International Campaigns Director

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