Charity Vets Have Been Threatened and are Afraid to Work on Kos Island…
As locals and tourist are aware there is a huge problem with stray animals in Greece, Kos being only one location where the situation concerning the abuse and murder of animals is apparent. Although the education system is improving there are still many people out there who are committing crimes against animals and mistreating and killing them without reason.
There are Greek laws (Law 3170/2003) as well as European laws that protect animals on all levels and in Greece it seems that these laws are simply being ignored. You only have to read the stories of poisoning and cruelty in the newspapers to understand this.
An example of this is when 16 cats which habited a graveyard and were fed by local residents were poisoned for no reason in Kardamena, Kos only weeks ago. These cats were in very good physical conditions and had all been castrated therefore causing no problems to anyone. These cats were found dead after going through the worst possible death through being poisoned with an industrial poison(see pictures). No perpetrator has been found therefore this is another example of individuals evading the law.
Although this is not the only problem that is faced concerning animal welfare! Maria Winterleitner is the president of the charity www.tierhilfe-kos.at and she has been working on Kos for at least 3 years with a team of vets from Germany, their aim being to help control the problem of the strays and to assist in anyway possible to the protection of animals. In 2009 alone her team helped over 800 stray animals on Kos and almost 3000 since they started. (Report at http://www.tierhilfe-kos.at/en/report09.html )
It was also stated in the report
“ The population of Kos really appreciates our commitment and is, of course, very keen on welcoming us again. As soon as it is financially possible, we will be happy to continue our work during the next year.”
“Unfortunately, we also encountered some issues while trying to protect the animals; thus, some of our local helpers were attacked and threatened repeatedly. In addition, there are still problems with the authorities and, as of late, also with some Greek veterinarians because, unlike their Austrian colleagues, they are primarily interested in making money instead of alleviating the suffering of animals.”
Maria was promised space by the vice mayor of Kos Town where they could carry out their castration program but it now appears that the vets on the island have spoken out and since this time the vise mayor has not answered any emails or accepted or returned any calls. As European citizen’s Maria’s team have the right to work in Greece as trained veterinarians but they have been threatened by two well known vets that if the team of vets come to Kos to work with the animals they will be arrested and taken to court.
The reason that has been given to Maria is that the vets here on Kos have stated that Kos does not have a problem with stray animals and therefore there is no need for anyone to come to Kos to carry out a castration program.
Now anyone who lives in Kos and has visited Kos as a tourist can be witness to the fact that there is a huge problem on Kos especially when you are unable to eat in a restaurant or walk through the harbor and archeological sites without seeing numerous cats which are in bad health and hungry.
It is also apparent that the professional people here on the island who should morally support these kinds of charities (especially when it will not be of cost to the professionals or the Municipality) do not do anything and may very well be against the support offered.
There are charities such as Z.O.E.K. (www.cos-island.info) and A.R.K. (animalrescuekos.co.uk) in Kos that are dedicated to the welfare of the animals but who get no support from the Municipalities (although they have always been promised support in pre election periods). For example an animal medical centre for the Island has been promised many times and to this day one does not exist on the island. If an animal is sick or needs treatment the animals have to be taken to local vets whom charge large amounts to the charities for the treatment.
As told to Kos-Explorer “ the vets on Kos do nothing to help the stray animals except charge the tourists lots of money to help the injured animals and to pay for vaccinations and EU passports to enable the animals to be taken off the island”
Now can anyone explain why calls and emails are not answered and threats are made to qualified vets who want to work in the interest of the animals and the island?
It is also sad to see that the charities here on the island who are dedicating their time and money to help the animals of Kos are recieving no respect or help from the municipalities, please see the emails below which were sent to the Mayor of Iraklidon – Mr Billis, Mayor of Kos – Mr Kiritsis, and the Greek Prime Minister – Mr Papandreou and to date there has been no response or action to these emails.
From: email removed for privacy
To: email removed for privacy
Subject: Kardamena cats
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 06:40:44 +0300
It is with great sadness and anger that we have seen and heard what went on in Kardamena on Thursday/Friday.
Kivotos (Animal rescue Kos) received a phone call on Thursday evening, from a concerned local, saying that one of the cats at the small cemetery had been poisoned. The next day we received a call to say 15 more were dead, a slow painful death for no reason. All of these cats had been sterilized so that the numbers wouldn’t get out of control and be murdered, and were healthy through great expense and hard work by volunteers. We supplied food to the local elderly Greek woman who feeds them regularly.
It has upset lots of people both Greek and other nationalities on the island, and has brought back horrific memories of the previous years incident when 9 dogs were found hung from a tree not far from where this incident took place, and which to date the man responsible has not been punished.
We are not going to sit back idly and allow this blatant flouting of the law to continue. These animals have no voice ,we are their voice and we will use it. There are also laws document 3170/2003 in place to protect them, these are not been implemented.
We, along with Zoek are working tirelessly, to try and help and protect these animals. You should be seriously worried about the number of tourists that we have spoken to this summer on the information stand in Tingaki, where we have sat for 5 hours every night of the season, with no pay I may add trying to get support and financial help so we can help these animals. They will not return here, because of the things they see, dogs on short chains, farm animals with no shade or water in 40 degrees of heat, starving animals, huge numbers of cats, need I go on?
We live on what should be a beautiful island, full with tourists, and therefor a strong economy, instead we have an island covered in rubbish that doesn’t care about its animals, where tourists don’t want to return.
We have vets in E.U. countries wanting to come in and sterilize the stray cats and dogs for free thus controlling the numbers, we have people ready to help, we have local people begging us to sterilise the animals to help control the populations. So what happens, the vets don’t receive working permission (flouting EU laws), the local vets create problems, and the whole thing cannot be done. We want these highly qualified vets here to help us, we haven’t got the money to sterilise thousands of animals with local vets, we have enormous vets bills as it is, treating injured animals etc. We have to work hard to get money, to pay these bills.
This incidentally is your responsibility, not ours , but as decent people we can not stand by and see this level of abuse and animal suffering, and do nothing. Yet we get no help!
We had a meeting with you last year, Mr.Kyritsis before we became a legal organisation, and you said that there was E.U funding available for land, a clinic and a vet to help these animals, but only to a legal organization. We went to considerable time and effort and a lot of money to do just this. Then earlier this year I phoned your office every day for two whole weeks to set up a meeting with you, and to date you haven’t replied to us. This shows us the respect with which you hold us.
There are ways that you could help if you choose too.
We plan to build a sanctuary on the island. It will not become a dumping ground for every animal that no one wants. It will be run on the advice of other long established organizations. We have a non euthanasia policy, there for the numbers need to be controlled. It will have a surgery and hopefully a full time vet. It will have a coffee shop and a pic-nic area so people can relax with their animals. We hope to invite the schools in for education purposes. It will be a tourist attraction, employing local people. We shall run dog training lessons. We are fund-raising now.
We need a piece of land, 30,000sqm to buy very cheaply in order to start. It has to be away from private houses but accessible to the public. It needs to have water and be near electricity, although we plan to get most of our electricity from solar power.
We need help with the infrastructure. We need help to have it all fenced in. Do you have land we can buy? We also will need assurances in writing that there will be no problems with planning permission for the things we need. We would in the future like to have a vets training college there.
Think about it, the land you sell us cheaply will pay for itself many times over, because if we do this right this island could be marketed as an animal loving paradise ,with a zero tolerance to animal abuse, greatly increasing the numbers of tourists.
We do of course have to start implementing the current laws in order for this to succeed.
A good place to start may be with the chipping and registration of the dogs on the island, people could be given a month to have their dogs chipped and after that they will be subject to a fine, which will pay for someone to be employed to check this is been done.
The hunters would be a good place to start, make it a condition of their license that their dogs have to be registered. Hunting dogs are the ones we deal with most often, when they are dumped on the street, when they have finished breeding, or are afraid of the gun. This is easy to stop.
Together we can make this a great place for the animals, the people who live here,and the tourists.Are you intrested in helping? I await your reply.
Susan Mc Grane.
For and on behalf of Kivotos.
From: email removed for privacy
To: email removed for privacy
Subject: FW: Kardamena cats
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 20:59:39 +0300
This is a copy of the recent e-mail I have sent to two of the mayors on Kos. Despite the serious nature of these crimes, I have to date to receive a reply.
As an animal rescue group made up of volunteers, who give their time and money freely to help these street animals, as we cannot stand by and watch this abuse take place. I find this insulting and a total disregard for the work we do which should be done by the Municipality.
We get no Government help, and no support in enforcing the laws of Greece.. .Law 3170/2003.
I would welcome your thoughts on this.
I await your reply.
Susan Mc Grane
Kivotos(Animal Rescue Kos)
Isn’t it about time something was done!
As told to Julie Finlay – Kos-explorer.com Chief Editor