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Barrel Dogs In Crete


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#1 Tikanis

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 04:55 PM

The improvement of the living conditions of barrel dogs in Crete and the death of lambs and goats from stray dogs were the issues discussed at the Municipality Building of Chania by the members of the Stock Breeders Association of the Chania region and the members of the Animal Friends Association.

It was agreed that dogs should live in real dog houses instead of barrels. The pastoral dogs should be protected from the weather conditions. A dog house itself cannot provide adequate protection from high temperatures and cold and should be placed in the shade, i.e. under a big tree in the summer or any other construction during winter.

There should always be clean and fresh water and food – no raw meat that causes several illnesses harmful for the dog and public health. The food and water containers should be kept clean at all times.

A campaign of raising awareness and informing the stock breeders should be started start by the association, beginning in the main villages. The stock breeders should be informed on the protection offered to animals by the law, the fees and penalties imposed by the law and of course on the animal rights.
Stray dogs in Crete

Everyone accepted that stray dogs attack lambs and goats and cause fiinancial damages to the stock breeders.

It was also agreed that these attacks are not the dogs’ fault; it’s a responsibility of those who abandon them when tired of them or when the animals stop serving “their purpose.” It is also the fault of the State that doesn’t enforce the given laws regarding the placement of electronic IDs on the animals.

The State also doesn’t impose the penalties recognized by the law in the case of abandoned animals, and doesn’t launch educational and informative programs at the schools in order to teach children how to protect the nature, the flora and fauna of their region.

All pertinent bodies should address the State for this issue rather than punishing the animals, which do not bear any responsibility anyway. It was finally agreed that this meeting and cooperation has to continue and improve, because mindsets do not change from one day to the other; constant efforts and rundowns are necessary.


This is the article which is currently appearing in the Crete Gazette. There has been quite a few comments posted from concerned people - what are your thoughts

#2 Cathy

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 01:23 PM

Re Barrel dogs

These reforms, though welcome, do not go nearly far enough. Dogs are highly intelligent pack animals. It goes without saying that they need adequate food and shelter, but equally they need comanionship (human and/or canine), exercise and mental stimulation.

I have recently returned from a holiday in Crete. While walking in the countryside I saw many dogs tied up on short leashes, apparently guarding something although it was unclear what. My route took me past one young-looking dog twice. Although he was barking he was wagging his tail in a friendly way so on the second occasion I risked sitting down next to him and stroking his head. I'll never forget how delighted he seemed to recieve this human contact or how frantic he became when I had to walk away and leave him behind. At the time, although I could see that the dog had a poor quality of life, I assumed that his owner would collect him at the end of each long, boring day on guard duty and take him home. When I returned to England and read about the true horror of the lives of these poor dogs on the internet it broke my heart. According to what I read (and I would be absolutely delighted to be corrected if this is an exaggeration) these dogs spend their entire adult lives tied up in all weathers, the farmer only visiting to feed them a few times a week. Anyone who treated a dog in this manner in the UK would quite rightly have it taken away and could face a large fine or even prison sentence.

Yes, in Crete the landscapes are beautiful and the people are friendly (to humans...) but I doubt that I will be back as the plight of the barrel dogs upsets me too much. Things can only change if the Cretans are made aware of how badly this practice reflects on their culture and be persuaded that it has a negative impact on tourism. I know there is little I can do but I plan to make as many people as possible aware of this terrible situation.

#3 alexandros

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 06:55 AM

Hello Cathy

Yes indeed this is a problem which can affect tourism, however things are slowly changing and the people need to be encouraged to continue this change.
There was a meeting in Ierapetra recently held by Jorge Xatsimarkakis who is a German MEP whose family is from here, who told the assembled audience of politicians, people in tourism etc that animal welfare was one thing that had to be addressed before the area had any more funding from the EU. Included was the need to care for the environment and the offering of quality tourism.
It is upsetting to see, but often the owners do care for the dogs - in there way.
We have a donkey sanctuary and our neighbour at the farm is a good man, he is really, with a dog which has been tied up for years. Recently we plucked up the courage to ask him if we could fit a webbing harness rather than the chains he used. He agreed and over a little time the dog is now free and follows the man around while he works - of course it also joins our 5 dogs to play. Sometimes gentle persuasion, showing respect to the people involved works.
I would make one suggestion - consider assisting one or more of the many organisations here who work with stray and barrel dogs, working to help the situation. These people, many are friends are dedicated to helping, wotk in difficult conditions, often become totally stressed and they need the morale support and financial support to keep going.
The belief system here is different, it is difficult to understand this when on holiday, but helping with the situation you will find is very worthwhile.
Best regards

Alistair