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Inhumane Humans

Posted by Dinny, 09 January 2006 · 2,706 views

During the years I have heard many sweet stories about how kind the Cretans are, practically the warm, generous type of people which lived on Earth centuries ago, with values that we westeners have lost long ago. Unfortunately I must tell you that these stories seem to be fairy tales....

As you might have read, I feed a bunch of cats on my terrace. Stray cats which will come by and eat and then disappear the whole day until they eventually come by again in the evening to get dinner. I try not to get too attached to these cats, I feed them because they are starving and that's it. But still, 3 of these cats became my favourites: Mis Daisy ("Mis" is Danish for "kitty"), Bernhard Bumblelegs, and Coyote Bill. Maybe because when they first came here as tiny kittens they were almost dying and I managed to handfeed them during the days when they were just apathetically letting themselves die, unable to stand up and go to get food and water .

Especially Mis Daisy conquered my heart. So trustful and sweet, sometimes she would come into the house and stay for half an hour to cuddle up beside me, until she would later let me know that it was time to say goodbye again and she wanted to go out.

My daughter had warned me: Be prepared, the Cretans will leave poisoned food around to kill the cats! It was hard for me really to believe that people would do like that, but three days ago Mis Daisy came by in the morning looking very poor and throwing up. I thought she had just been eating grass, cats do that, so I didn't think much of it. In the evening she came back looking even more miserable. I took her inside and let her stay on the couch and tried to make her drink at least some water, but nothing to do. She was obviously in great pain, but my ignorance made me hope she would get over it. After sitting with her all night in the morning she wanted to go out. I never saw her again. Cats go and hide when they know they are going to die. I feel so miserable thinking that my neighbours would do a thing like that...

A few months ago my neighbour got a puppy, very small, taken from its mother long before time, that was obvious. But with love and tenderness maybe a puppy can survive that. Well, the puppy could not stay on their terrace, since after it had been fed it would want to let something out, which was quite unacceptable. It was therefore put in the parking lot just next to my house, where it lives in a plastik box, having a space to move corresponding to the 1,5 metre of chain that's tied to its neck. It has been there for the last two-three months, nobody is taking it for a walk, nobody except myself is ever stopping to talk to him or cuddle him, he is simply given some pasta in the morning so that he won't starve to death. I wonder why these people wanted a puppy.... ??

Next to my house there is an empty ground. On the ground stand the ruins of an old fabrika, otherwise its only grass. For the last couple of months a big ram has been grazing on this fenced ground, he must have been quite happy, no chains, so apart from the loneliness maybe he enjoyed life. But this morning around eleven I saw him lying back on the ground among the broken stones from the fabrika and three legs sticking up, moving slightly from time to time. At first, I thought "how funny, sheep are doing like dogs, rolling around in the grass" but an hour or so later he was still in the same position and I felt something was wrong. I checked an hour later again and he was still there. Then I went down on the parking lot under my house to take a closer look. No doubt, he was obviously in pain and unable to get up. So I went to the square to see if I could find somebody that could help. I stopped a man coming by on a tractor and he came to take a look. We could not get into the ground because the gate in the fence is locked, but he saw too that the poor animal was in bad shape. Then a small truck came by and the man stopped it to ask if the driver would happen to know who the animal belonged to. The answer was "it belongs to my brother, and I don't care". Then he drove off. I hoped the tractor driver would find somebody who would take care of the ram, after all if not for helping the animal out of its pain, at least because such a ram represents a value, and letting it there to die slowly and finding it after days would leave the owner with no value at all. But nothing has happened. The few people I managed to contact could not care less, of the series "it's not mine, so don't bother me with it".

It's almost eight o'clock. The ram is still there with his three legs sticking up, probably the fourth is broken, and there is not a soul in Pitsidia who would move a finger to help him out of his pain.

I had to change a light bulb outside this afternoon. While standing on the step ladder to reach the lamp I thought that hopefully I would not fall off the ladder and break something, 'cause people in Pitsidia would probably just see me lying on the ground thinking "she is not my tenant, so I couldn't care less."

Today I don't like people here. I sincerely hope they will manage to change my opinion about them, but I fear it will take some cool cash to make them smile their friendly smiles and open their hearts.

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Mis Daisy - Bernie - CoyoteBill

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This is the first time I have not enjoyed something that you have written but I am pleased to have done so - you write about what you see very candidly so I suppose sometimes it must be about less pleasant things too.

Some friends of ours lost a dog in Kritsa due to poisoned food being put down for cats - it was the only time he had escaped from the house without being on a lead but I guess that is all it takes.

Alan has commented before that all the cats we see in Crete tend to look like young ones - the chances of a long life must be quite slim with all the odds that are set against them.

I hope something good happens in the next couple of days to restore your faith.


Sorry that you have experienced such cruelty to what I think we all consider to be your animals and that you have experienced the Greek way of treating animals. Try to take some comfort in knowing that the kittens experienced more affection from you in their short lives than they would have probably known if you hadn't been there. Please try and remember that not all Greeks have these attitudes, only last year Yannis was berating an establishment in Kalyves for the manner in which they kept their goats tethered in a small enclosure.
My family were very distressed last year to witness our neighbour in Tavronitis cutting the throat of a goat that all the children in the apartments had been playing with. No-one I complained to could see anything wrong in what they were doing...it has always been done this way was the answer I received.
And even in the good old UK there are people who will put poisioned food down for animals. I am involved with Search & Rescue Dogs in South Wales and only last year one of the dog handlers had poisioned food thrown into his garden for his two Search dogs to eat. Thankfully they survived to carry on and have since taken part in several successful searches for missing people.
Thinking of you
I will never understand how anyone could be cruel to an animal. Personally, I think more of animals than I do of people.
Well, I must admit that I am a bit negative right now.... the ram died during the night without nobody ever caring about him and is now there on the ground sticking his legs up in the air, it'll probably be days or weeks before somebody notice and remove him, if at all. Maybe the cats will eat him....

I'm concentrating on my Greek lessons... so that the first full sentence I shall ever pronounce will be "May your house be infested with rats and may you live to experience the same pain you are inflicting on other living creatures". I realize that this is not a very positive attitude and I sincerely hope that I shall soon be able to adapt to my "human" environment.

Dear Dinny, I am sorry you had such bad experiences. Please remember that there are cruel people, but there are also people who care and someday you will meet them and you will smile again...
Sorry Dinny.
You're not alone...there are a lot of us out here thinking about you.
Thanks Dave, Yvonne, Tinks, Yannis.... it really warms to know that friends are feeling what's going on. Of course I will have to adapt, it's just so far-far-far from the way I am, and I have a hard time accepting that this is the way it is here. But it is so nice to know that you can understand that it is ... not easy! Thanks! :-)
You reminded me of a long-forgotten story...Many years ago I was 17 and my siter was 13. We were together with my father a few km past Kokkinos Pirgos in one of his olive groves. I think he wanted to water them and we went together with him.A little before we go, a kitten approached my sister and they became the best of friends within minutes. The kitten trusted her so much that she even got into the car with her and we returned to Kokkinos Pirgos.Our house was in Heraklion though and there was no space for the kitten in it, so my sister accepted to leave it at our grandparents house.Every time we visited our grandparents the kitten was there and we loved to play with it. Unfortunately many weekends later, the kitten was not there any more. My grandmother said that it had probably eaten a poisoned rat and it died. I and my sister were both very sad because we had come to love that little animal.Perhaps that is an explanation for the death of your cat. People in the villages use poison to extinguish the rats that get into their houses. If a cat eats a poisoned rat, then the poison will kill it as well.
A couple of days have passed since this thread started and I wondered if you were OK?
QUOTE(DaveW. @ 12 Jan 2006, 11:36 PM)
A couple of days have passed since this thread started and I wondered if you were OK?

Dave, thanks, I'm OK. Actually just thought about it yesterday that I had better hurry making a new entry to my blog, I didn't like for the animal-one to stand for too long time on itself as if that was my last and definitive impression about Crete. I've found my smile again and have learned a lesson I would rather have been without.

See you soon back on the blog with lighter news from wonderful Kriti smile.gif

Good. That is good news..and I am now off to work in dark, cold and miserable South Wales.
This is something that has always bothered me about Greece. I don't understand how one can have such feelings regarding animals. Perhaps I'm too sensitive a person, but the idea that someone would knowingly cause an animal pain is to me inhuman and slightly psychotic. I have heard the rate of stray animals in Greece is so high because it was considered very vogue and popular to own a pet at one time (80s or 70s I think) but once people bought the animals they realized it took work to have a pet and they simply let them go out on their own, after which they mated and caused the problem that still exists today.

This comes back to what you said, if you don't want to care for an animal, or you are going to treat it in an inhumane way, then why would you want to get one?

My mothers friend lived with someone in Buffalo who had a puppy for the sake of his son (who visited only two weekends out of the month). He went to the legnth that he would not put out food or water because he didn't want the animal to have to go to the bathroom, I guess that was too much of an inconvenience for him. He never named the puppy, only calling it "Dog" and was abusive toward it. Until my mothers friend called animal protection services and thankfully the puppy was taken away. Sorry you had to experience that, and sorry to bring it up again, but I'm glad you have your smile back, enjoy everything else Crete has to offer.

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