Here we go again, how to win friends and influence people.
Lets take up the poison mix it with food and offer it around to the hungry trusting strays. Yet another Crete Street Cleaning and Animal Welfare program commences. It comes all in one neat organized massacre package.- spread the stuff at dusk, collect the bodies at dawn, stuff them (some still alive) into plastic bags throw aboard a pickup and dump them somewhere out of sight...............job well done.
Is this effective Well in many respects it most certainly is, it ensures that even more tourists will think twice about visiting Crete, it increases ill feeling and disrespect for Greece and her people. Oh yes and it maintains Crete's proud boast of being the worst area in the whole of Greece for its appalling record of animal abuse and cruelty.
But is it effective in the control of stray animals?
You tell me, it appears that this barbaric system has to be used more and more frequently and with greater intensity,year on year on year. No longer just at the begining and the end of the tourist seasons but inbetween times too.
There are those amonst us who have their companion animals caught up in this carnage, indiscriminate poisoning doesn't limit its victims to hapless strays.
Gournes November 2009.
A letter of protest written by Greek people and friends who care for animals.
For several years now, a few of us working at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research on the old base in Gournes have taken care of three dogs. One appeared about three years ago, pregnant and frightened. Once she learned that we were friendly, she became loyal, mild-mannered and affectionate. We gave her the name Pastaflora, and found homes for all her puppies. Around the same time, a small male dog appeared. We gave him the name Danny, after the actor Danny deVito, because of his small size. Both dogs became popular at the Centre and employees would often bring leftovers from home. Later, we found a male puppy trapped in a hole just outside the Centre. After we rescued him, he, too, stayed around, and Gastone, as we named him, quickly grew to a large size.
Then Gastone showed signs of poisoning, and the two other dogs were missing. We feared they had all been poisoned, and after searching for hours we found Pastaflora and Danny dead near the Centre. One of the dogs was found in a bag in a field strewn with remains of cats and dogs, probably left there by the criminals who committed many more of these terrible acts of poisoning. Gastone finally survived and is now doing fine. All three dogs were wearing collars; they had all the necessary vaccinations and medical papers, and Pastaflora and Danny were both sterilized so as not to further add to the population of strays in the area.
Unfortunately, this incident is only the latest in a long history of animal cruelty in the area. Killing stray animals is far beyond a matter of education and civilization. It is a crime and people who are killing animals are criminals and they are among us saying hello to everybody.
The Municipality is required by law to provide shelters and neutering for stray animals. Now all the work is being done by a few good men and women on their own initiative, without compensation.
Pet owners refusing to implement some kind of birth control, and then dumping the offspring of their pets in the wild, are making sure that the problem will never go away. Many people think sterilizing an animal is cruel. But the alternative, leaving defenseless kittens and puppies in the wild, is far crueler.
Everyone could do something about stray animals in his or her own way rather than being indifferent!!!
Jon Kristoffersen, Yolanda Koulouri, Wanda Plaiti
These caring Greek people look to obtaining the backing and support from ex pats, they believe that we have the knowledge and the experience which can help them to change things here for the better, sometimes and sadly, I wonder if this is true.
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