Greece Will Neuter Stray Animals, Require Animal Rights Too

Αssociated Press

A stray dog sits in front of Presidential Guards who perform a shift change during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

A flurry of animal abuse cases has driven Greece’s New Democracy government to propose a bill that would implement animal rights but also neuter a million strays.

The measure from the Interior Ministry would also set up a national register of animals, said Kathimerini, without specifying how that would be done and an agency monitoring local authorities on how they deal with pets, with a national hotline for complaints.

The bill has five internationally recognized animal freedoms to require they be fed and given fresh water, shelter, treatment for illnesses and ailments, sufficient space and the company of other animals and from fear and distress.

In October 2020, the government moved to make a felony for cruelty to animals, which has been treated lightly in Greece despite a proliferation of cases including killing, maiming and torture

That could even include jail time under a legislative amendment after two especially horrific cases galvanized public outrage, one a videotaped incident in the neighborhood of Nikaia in Piraeus where a school teacher was seen repeatedly stabbing a dog in the stomach and chest while a neighbor beat it with a metal rod.

Anger was so strong that crowds gathered outside the teacher's house and screamed threats at him, disbelieving his claim the attack was done in self-defense despite the video showing the dog was essentially helpless.

In another case, on Crete, a 55-year-old man hung his dog from a tree and castrated it with a pair of pliers before passing tourists saw what was happening and stepped in to save the dog's life.

Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis met with prominent animal rights activist Panagiotis Milas, who has been working with local authorities to create a special department within the municipal police force to deal with animal cruelty, said Kathimerini.

The aim of the amendment will be to make it easier for authorities to prosecute animal abusers and for stricter penalties after the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA moved to lessen penalties for animal abuse before withdrawing it after an outcry from society.