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News ::
Statistics tell a different story for the stray dogs of Athens
29 Aug 2004
Forget the medal count for the Olympic Games continuously being revised for positive drug tests. When it comes to the stray dogs of Athens…the numbers don’t add up either.
Forget the medal count for the Olympic Games continuously being revised for positive drug tests. When it comes to the stray dogs of Athens…the numbers don’t add up either.

There were an estimated 15,000 stray dogs in Athens and another 35,000 in surrounding suburbs up until a couple of years ago. Recent reports indicate both numbers quoted above have decreased considerably. Deputy Mayor Tonia Kanellopoulou says there are only perhaps 3,000 strays in Athens (indicating a significant decline from a couple of years ago). In fact, the City of Athens is proudly stating it has taken in a few hundred stray dogs for sterilization, vaccination, identification and any veterinary care they may need. Further stating that, if the dogs are not adopted within 45 days they will be returned to their familiar neighbourhoods. So, did the all the other dogs catch a ferry to one of the islands for a holiday?

Visiting media, from both Canada and the U.S.A., wanting a change of venue from writing about the Olympic Games have been going to print with numerous stories on the strays; some asking where have all the dogs gone, others saying they’re being cared for in nice kennels and being fed gourmet food; and suggesting those making accusations that strays were being poisoned in Greece were creating nothing more than a ‘bunch of negative hype’. They should instead be asking why a spokesman for the Greek Embassy would say, “Poisoning dogs is traditional but now illegal. Local officials have extended autonomy and it’s done at night. It’s considered a minor offence and public prosecutors and police don’t want to go after elected officials.”

Reported incidences of poisoning in recent months include the following (and one can well imagine how many ‘unreported’ cases there are). Nine cats under the care of Friends of the Cat and Lefkes Animal Welfare Society had 8 poisoning cases in July. The Port of Keratsini caregivers found 20 dogs dead and only 2 days before the games, they were asked to get any remaining dogs out of the area before the cruise ships docked. Twenty-two dogs turned up dead near the Port of Piraeus on August 4. Another 80 dogs were found dead in Saronida. Other reported poisonings include Perea – 16; Pilea – 6 dogs & 18 cats; Ioannina – 10; Xanthi – 25; Orestiada – 50; Alexandroupoli – 50; Kallithea – almost all; Panormou Street/Metro – all pigeons and cats; Polygyros, Halkidiki – yet unknown number; and in Korfos, Korinth, all the animals have disappeared. And 2004 began with more than 60 dogs and cats poisoned to death in an Athens park just before Greece took over the European Union’s six month rotating presidency.

So, one wonders why these same reporters haven’t printed any poisoning statistics or photographs that depict what really goes on in Athens and Greece in general.

Mrs. Dianne Aldan
Greek Animal Rescue - Canada (GARCANADA)
614 - 25 The Esplanade
Toronto, ON M5E 1W5


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