Greece’s stray dogs – Loved and cared for by many

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Puppies playing on the streets of Santorini, Greece.

This article illustrates recent personal experiences our author encountered while visiting Greece.

We’ve heard the stories of community dogs – stray animals that don’t belong to anyone in particular but somehow are taken care of by many people within a community. In the United States it is not so common to see docile, well-fed dogs, roaming the streets freely. Many American homeless animals are in appalling health conditions and when authorities are called to step in, it is usually done to get the dogs off the streets. Yet, if you travel abroad you will encounter many friendly animals living well and legally on the streets.

Greece has a large percentage of stray dogs that are taken care of not only by the locals but by the government as well. The Greek government has a public program where stray animals are tagged and offered veterinary services. The government pays for and administers vaccines to these community dogs, and whenever needed, they offer medical attention to any injured street animal. Unfortunately, the program can’t afford to spay and neuter the strays, therefore these animal continue to breed on their own.

For tourists, the street dogs are an unexpected surprise. At first, tourists might worry that these dogs are homeless, sick, hungry and abandoned, but on a closer look, visitors realize that these street animals have a far better life than many unwanted American house pets.

Street dog in Santorini, Greece.

“Here in Greece our homes are not large enough for all of us to house animals,” said Bill McMillian, who resides in Athens, Greece. “That’s why we look after the street dogs. We feed them, pet them, and play with them. They are like our own pets, but they belong to everyone instead.”

Greece’s street dogs might not know what a comfortable dog bed feels like, they might never experience a bath, but they do know what it feels like to be loved by someone.

Local animal lovers understand the street life might not be an ideal one for all these animals, this is why the locals take it upon themselves to get to know the neighborhood dogs and ensure they get food and water on a daily base.

Letty the street dog and her guardian.
Athens, Greece.

“I feed Letty and her friends twice a day every day,” said Letty’s guardian. “I come looking for her in the morning and bring her a bowl of food and biscuits. I also know of this woman that lives outside Athens. She and her husband go around the city every day feeding the dogs. They buy food from the market, cook it, and drive around feeding those animals they see.”

On the rare occasion when a dog becomes violent towards a human, authorities are called to intervene.

“The government doesn’t destroy the dog right away,” said Letty’s guardian. “Some people that don’t like animals might falsely report that a dog is aggressive when this isn’t true. That’s why animal control comes out, collects the dog and holds it for about five days.”

According to Letty’s guardian, while animal control has the dog, the animal gets a temperament test. If the animal shows sign of aggressions they try to find a rescue group or person that is interested in working and rehabilitating the canine. On the rare case when the dog is too aggressive to be released back on the streets, they are put down.

“Most of the time animal lovers come out and adopt those dogs deemed unsafe to be left free on the street, so the percentage of destroyed animals tends to be very low,” said Letty’s guardian.

Locals are known to defend those animals that are picked up by animal control. That was the case with Ruby the anti-austerity dog who was picked up when falsely accused of biting a person. Upon investigation, Ruby was deemed friendly and released back to freedom.

Another Grecian street dog that made it to stardom was Louk, a four-legged protestor of the 2010-12 Greek protests.

As an outsider you might notice that Greece’s stray dogs don’t look as happy as most American pampered pets, but rest assure that somewhere in Greece there are many guardian angels that on a daily base take to the streets to care after the community pet.

Street dog. Rhodes, Greece

 

53 thoughts on “Greece’s stray dogs – Loved and cared for by many”

  1. Oh wow. Did the author dream this crap up? Have you ever stepped foot in Greece? Or are you just being paid by government officials to mislead people into believing this fantasy sci-fi bullcrap? Maybe do some research next time before writing such a fantasy piece and claiming it to be fact.

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    • FWIW, my wife and I have been to Greece. These dogs are, in deed, everywhere. Particularly in Santorini, the dogs appears healthy and happy. There were community food and water stations for them and the locals regarded them fondly. I can’t speak for the whole country, but the story certainly holds true from what we saw.

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    • This is the most FAKE news ever! The local Greek governments TOTALLY ignore animal laws and are completely absent when it comes to prosecuting animal abuse. Animal abuse is RAMPANT, HORRIFIC in Greece, The few animal activists and associations have their hands full with horror stories every and each day. Greeks are monsters by how they treat animals. The person who wrote this article should have her journalist license revoked for spreading false news!

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  2. As long as children are allowed to tear kittens limb from limb and NOTHING is done about it Greece will be a disgrace to all animal lovers!!! You should do more investigating into the Greek animal laws and mistreatment of animals. Find some actual places in Greece and read the true stories!!!!Cats being hammered to death, tossed around like a toy !!!! Some places might take care of some animals BUT all of Greece is NOT kind to animals!!!! Dogs tied up and left to die because they aren’t needed at the moment. You should be ashamed thinking that Greece is completely animal friendly!!! Do the work and find out the TRUTH!!!!

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    • Agree-Greece is a country that hates animals full stop. Stray, hungry & hurt dogs are all over the country dying a slow death..

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  3. This is 100% TRUE! My sister wet to Greece to visit friends who live there and told me all about the street dogs and how the people and government take care of them. So “Anonymous” at the top of the page…maybe YOU should do some research and get YOUR facts straight.

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    • I live in Greece (german) for the last 30 years and have been involved in Animal Rescue for 26 years in this country….I have my own little private shelter for rescues and I would advise you to get YOUR facts straight.The government does not take care of the animals.Any rescue,vetbills and boarding costs are paid out of our OWN pockets.There are days at the end of the mont where I sit with 10 Euros in my pocket and pray that none of the dogs get sick since I won’t have the money for the vet.The misery these animals suffer is unbearable….poisoning,hanging,mutilated,raped,dragged behind cars till they die.Come off your cloud nine and face facts…which you obviously have no idea about!

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    • I HAVE JUST RESCUED MY SECOND GREEK DOG , THE WAY THE GREEK PEOPLE TREAT THEIR ANIMALS , IS AN UTTER DISGRACE. !!! IT’S PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT THIS PERSON HAS BEEN PUT UP/PAID ! TO WRITE THIS , I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY SLEEP AT NIGHTS…. iF YOU SEE A DOG ON THE STREET IN THIS COUNTRY , IT’S ALMOST UNHEARD OF , OVER THERE , YOUR KNEE DEEP IN SICK AND ABUSED DOGS , AND THE WAY THEY SHOW THEIR CARE ‘ IS BY POISONING , CUTTING THEIR FEET OFF , WIRING UP THEIR MOUTH’S, HANGING THEM ,TYING THEM UP AND LEAVING THEM TO DIE IN THE HOT SUN , THE GREEK PEOPLE ARE A DISGRACE TO ALL ANIMALS , AND AS A COUNTRY , I WOULD NEVER ! PROP UP THEIR ECONOMY , BY GOING THERE , TILL THEY START TO CARE ABOUT THE ANIMALS , tHEY MAKE ME SICK !!!!

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  4. Look up Peanuts Place of Promise and see how much”Government help” they get,NONE!! One woman trying to save lives and get help from ALL OVER THE WORLD!! The Greek government needs to help ALL places trying to save animals,NOT just the TOURIST areas!!! How crappy would all those pretty places be with sick dogs laying around…..

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  5. That may be true in Athens and Santorini, both heavy tourist destinations, but it is not true outside of them. There are cases of abuse and neglect that can turn your stomach. Towns that sanction poisoning of strays. Children stoning cats and dogs to death. People flushing kittens down the toilet. It’s fine to applaud a city for caring. However, it does not mean the rest of the country is like that.

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  6. Suggest you look at Facebook “Greece Exposed”. That will tell you about the perverted sadists who live in Greece. I was horrified at the cruelty and abuse towards animals that I witnessed. I would never ever visit this God forsaken country again. I support the rescues from afar.

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