How You Can Help the Strays of Greece

Stray dog in Greece

There are several things someone could do to help animals in Greece. In fact, there are some NGOs who are doing just that.

Author Myrto Varela

It was a regular afternoon in the end of August when my mother asked me to take our dog for a walk. In the beginning, I was bored, but after a few minutes of unbearable begging, I did. So I tied Yvi on the leash, and we started walking together towards the church. That’s when I heard the fading voice of a weak cat calling for me. And it wasn’t long before I realized where this noise came from. Once I did, I didn’t know what to do because what I saw was a one-week-old baby cat. Actually, even though I knew what the right thing to do was, I hesitated a lot before doing it because I knew that we already had too many pets at home. But in the end, it didn’t even take me ten minutes to take him and bring him home. And that’s when the trouble started. 

He was one week old, so he had to drink milk every two hours. And not just any milk, we had to boil rice and then give him the water that remained in the casserole to drink. And that, even during the night. But our efforts paid off, and it wasn’t long before he turned into a big healthy cat who is now living with my parents. Unfortunately, not every stray animal in Greece gets to be that lucky. The authorities say that they are unable to estimate how many stray animals suffer on the streets of Athens each year. But what they know for sure is that the threats are major. 

Some of them starve to death. Some others are killed by cars. And on top of that, it’s certain that the Greek citizens aren’t educated enough to treat animals as they should. Surveys have shown that each year approximately 870.000 animals get abused. And my eyes have actually seen and read the worst cases. Recently, the undersecretary of the environment in one of the biggest cities in Greece decided to give a monetary prize to women who hunt boars for fun. Or another case is the case of a man who dropped poison in a water pod and managed to kill a dog with it. There have occasionally been several programs that educate people on that topic, but still, we have a long way to go. And the problem isn’t limited to companion animals. 

Farm and wild animal rights are even more neglected. I remember how surprised I was when I saw plant-based milk for the first time in Germany because here in Greece, most of the people consider veganism to be an exaggeration. It’s possible that less than 5% of the people are vegan. And that’s why local people show lots of reluctance against that movement. The example of an authority giving money to women in order to shoot wild boars represents very well how much we care about the well-being of animals like bears, wolves, etc. Just the thought that killing dogs is punished and killing boars is rewarded is enough to understand that we are speciesists. And the fact that we are not putting any strict punishments for the people who are vanishing the seasonal hunting regulations is also disappointing since there are strict rules regarding when, where, and what species should be hunted each season. But the regional authorities rarely take action, and that’s so disappointing. 

There are several things someone could do to help animals in Greece. In fact, there are some NGOs who are doing just that, here are a few examples: Friends of the Strays of Greece, Greek Animal Rescue, Animal Action Greece, Hellenic Society for Equine Welfare, Vrouva Vegan Farm, and ARCTUROS. Helping animals locally is essential but knowing which parts of the planet neglect animal rights the most is also important because, in these regions, local people are usually unaware and desensitized regarding animal rights. I really wish for this article to help you, just for a moment, to consider donating to a Greek animal charity, and I hope many people get to realize how difficult it is to be an animal in Greece.



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