A facebook interview with Susan McGrane – Head of Animal Rescue Kos
Susan McGrane has lived on the island of Kos for more than ten years, she visited the island on holiday, and like most, fell in love with it. Susan decided to move to the island and has always been passionate about animals and their welfare, and has put all her energy and devotion into setting up ARK – ANIMAL RESCUE KOS.
HOW WAS ANIMAL RESCUE KOS STARTED?
After many years helping with the animals on the island with friends, and the already exsisting animal groups, I decided to focus on creating an animal group and charity of our own.
Kivotos is our Greek name which means ARK,there isn’t a direct translation for animal rescue Kos to Greek, and by law, we are required to have a GREEK name,so we use the initials of our English name ARK which then translates to Kivotos.
We have 7 committee members,who all work as volunteers and receive no money for the work they do for the charity,in fact most are in full-time employment, especially during the summer months, so help when they can.
WHAT HAVE YOU ACHIEVED SO FAR?
We have paid over 700 euro to have our organization registered in the Greek Courts. So it is all legal.
We have bought 100 cat boxes for cats to recover in after having been sterilized,at a cost of 1,100 euro.
We had 100 collection boxes and 50 information packs made to help us raise money, to enable us to continue our work. This cost 1,200 euro.
We have spent over 2,500 euro on vets and medicine bills,with local vets for the sterilization, treatment and welfare of the dogs and cats. We have sterilized over 25 animals since June 2010.
We supply food ,medicines,and sometimes kennels for animals in foster care. We also distibute animal food to people whom help with feeding the many strays on the Kos Island.
We have re-homed 112 dogs and 7 cats from April to present date.
We are currently caring for 26 dogs,in our own homes or in foster homes or that are out on the streets.
We organized in Kos the silent protest against the poisoning of street animals, a protest that was held all over Greece this Summer.
We have sent many protest letters to the relevant authorities,with regards to the continued animal abuse on this island.
We are currently working on,with the help of an Australian friend, a portfolio that we can show to people to get sponsorship and support.
We have been looking at land, that we ultimately hope to purchase, in order to build a sanctuary,with a clinic and education facilities. This is our on going long term goal,and we need your help and support to achieve it.
In order to do all this we need to raise funds as at present we get no grants or aid from the Government,or any other organizations.
Our funds are raised through various means…
Having collection boxes in the local hotels.We always need new hotels to have an information pack and money box for tourists.
IS IT A FULL TIME JOB?
During the summer evenings, 3 of our volunteers/supporters have an information stand EVERY NIGHT in a tourist resort, they talk to tourists about ARK -KIVITOS and try continually to re home animals and collect donations for much needed funds to meet our ongoing vets bills.
I also receive phone calls at any time of day or night. Look after the animals that I am taking care of, take them to receive medical care, and have a great deal of work and correspondence to deal with on the computer every day. Yes, it is full time…..and I enjoy every minute of the work I do. It can be very tiring, frustrating, and emotional at times, but it is always worth while when we are able to save an animal, help it in any way, or re-home it.
HOW HAVE YOU RAISED MONEY RECENTLY FOR ARK?
We run a car-boot once a month to raise a small amount of money. Many thanks to Mr.Vassilladis for allowing us to use the car park in his shop in Mamarto. Car boot takes place the first Sunday every month, and all are welcome. There is also always a coffee and tea stand, with homemade goodies, and it is a great chance to pick up a good bargain. Plenty of good quality second hand clothes for adults and children, household goods, English books, toys and games, a real mixture.
Animal Rescue has also organied a raffle and a dinner, which raised awareness and money for the charity. Many people of the island offered and donated prizes, we were extremely grateful for their generousity.
HOW CAN PEOPLE MAKE A DIFFERENCE/DONATE MONEY TO YOUR CHARITY?
For anyone wishing to donate, make a contribution, every little helps, we now have an account with the Alpha bank, for which we had to supply all of our details, for the banks solicitor as we are a charity.A vote was taken at committee level so that two people could operate this account.
We also use pay-pal,which is transferred directly into the above account.Our address is…firstname.lastname@example.org
Our collection boxes in the hotels, for which we always issue a stamped official receipt,and have two people to count the contents usually a member of the hotel staff and one of the committee.
We operate a non euthanasia policy.
We do not approve or condone any religion or political party but work with anyone in order to help the animals.
We also work with Tierhilfe Kos who do the sterilization programs,they also send cat food in the Winter which we are then able to share with Vangellis (ZOEK)…and give this to some of the kind people around the island who feed and help the strays.
There is also GASAH (Greek and Swiss Animal Help) which helps injured dogs, has also a sterilisation programme, educates children on animal care, and acts as A Stepping Stone for dogs needing some where to stay and convalesce after an operation, injury…..they are also very successful at re-homing dogs abroad.
THERE HAS BEEN SOME TERRIBLE PUBLICITY FOR KOS ISLAND LATELY CONCERNING ANIMAL TORTURE AND THE UNNECESSARY SHOOTING, HANGING AND POSISIONING OF THEM? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE DONE ABOUT THIS SITUATION?
There should be zero tolerance towards the people commiting these horrific crimes, and I would also like to see the Local Authorities, (Head of Muncipality/Local Council) to employ or provide funding for a person to enforce the existing animal laws…kind of like animal cops.I would them to encourage compulsary education about animal welfare…amongst other things.
We would like to thank Susan McGrane (and all of ARK’s volunteers), and the other animal organisations on the island, for never giving up, although, it is a continual battle, with very little help from local communities, and a constant worry trying to raise the funds that is needed for these animals, to be fed and taken care of.