Stray dogs in Greece
Conveying responsibility for a dog’s life
Despite the best efforts of our partner Zero Stray Pawject e.V. and the local animal shelter, the number of stray dogs on the island of Aegina in Greece has remained constant for years. Although the law prohibits it, people still abandon their dogs on a regular basis. To solve the problem at its core, we strive to educate the local population and show them how to keep and treat their dogs responsibly.
On the Greek island Aegina, approximately 1800 households own 2000 dogs. Every year around 200 dogs are abandoned, athough, if prosecuted, this is subject to severe penalties.
In theory, the stray population on the island of Aegina could be brought under control. The local shelter continually invests into neutering stray dogs before either returning them to the place they were found or, whenever possible, placing them in a good new home. However, the number of stray dogs remains the same, as former pets are abandoned at an equal pace. The reasons for this are numerous: some have served their time as watch- or hunting dogs, while others incur too many expenses. Every month our local partner documents dozens of newcomers on the streets.
Abandonment is illegal; chipping obligatory
Although Greek law strictly prohibits the act of abandoning a dog, the irresponsible former owners are rarely ever caught. The local authority is unable to enforce consistent prosecution due to financial and personnel reasons. In addition, most dogs — despite legal obligation — are neither chipped nor registered, which makes finding their former owner almost impossible.
Tackling the root of the problem — by promoting micro-chipping and registration
To inform, support and create incentives: this is how we address dog owners in order to encourage consistent registration and micro-chipping:
- With the support of the mayor and the director for Public Health, our partner offers a local lottery for responsible owners who have officially registered and chipped their dog(s).
- We use posters, social media and the websites of the local authorities, as well as flyers attached to the water bills of every household, to inform people about the lottery and the benefits of registration and microchipping.
- All registered and chipped dogs are listed in a database. Owners receive a certificate and a dog tag.
- For owners who live below a certain income limit, we cover half of the cost for micro-chipping.
Together with our partner Zero Stray Pawject (ZSP), we are paving the road towards a viable enforcement of the Greek Animal Welfare Act on Aegina. Being able to trace a dog back to its owner will ensure that abandonment can be effectively prosecuted as a criminal offense. At the same time, we are raising awareness for responsible dog ownership and creating a basis for less animal suffering on the streets.