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Tourism

The Loutraki Landfill’s Garbage Dogs

March 7, 2021
By Katerina Stratigaki and Julie Scourfield

ATHENS – Passing by the rubbish dump/landfill was a life changing experience for her, seeing the horrendous conditions the dogs and puppies were living in. She found packs of dogs and puppies in terrible states, with broken bones, sores all over their bodies, starving, thirsty and sadly, some were dead. Soon, she began trying to take care of all the dogs she could find. She has no help from local authorities or from the government.

This dump is huge. And inside live about 130 dogs, dogs living next to tons of garbage in the most adverse conditions.

Countless puppies are born and die helplessly in there without a chance to live a full life. It’s tragic – an endless cemetery of animals.

Dogs drink water from dirty and dangerous puddles, they scavenge in the trash.

Who's going to go to a rubbish dump to take care of dogs there? Aphrodite alone – a   lady who has been doing incredible work for years trying to find a solution, and who has dedicated her life to the task.

Aphrodite, a kind-hearted and compassionate lady, has captured, vaccinated, neutered, and treated as many dogs as could be moved to the small plot of land she rents. She has no more space for the dogs left at the site, however, so, if a sick dog needs treatment today, she has no alternative but to try and capture the dog, put it in a crate and give it treatment. If very sick, they are taken to the vet’s for treatment, then released back to the landfill, she has no other place to take the dogs.

Her dream is to take all the dogs out of the landfill and give them the life they deserve, with a loving family. To make her dream come true she needs a larger plot of land with a shelter, to give as many dogs as possible a chance for a happy and healthy life with treatment, love and care – hopefully foster care or adoption as well.

She created her Facebook page in 2018 so that people could see her work trying to help alleviate the suffering of the poor dogs. The smallest donation will help. She is alone in helping the ‘Garbage Dogs’ and she can barely make ends meet.

Visit www.facebook.com/ethelontesxwmaterisLoutrakiou (Volunteers for the animals of Loutraki Landfill), click on the page and check out her work. Let's help her if we can. With a sack of food, a few medicines, fostering, adoptions, and lots of shares on social media.

Her admirable and selfless work with the dogs has been recognized by a German charity www.facebook.com/NeverWalkAloneTierschutzverein, Marika Kamari. They send pallets of dry food to help. They are a lifeline for the Garbage Dogs.

In the Loutraki landfill there are about 130 stray dogs, most of which suffer horribly with diseases. The Municipality of Loutraki is uninterested in the well-being of the dogs and no measures have been taken to alleviate the situation apart from providing four sacks of dry food per week. The dogs must be captured and neutered and treated for diseases and skin conditions. Food and proper shelter must also be provided. The few Volunteers, usually Aphrodite alone, that are trying to make things better for the poor dogs are barely able to make ends meet.

Over the past few years the Loutraki landfill has become the place for people to discard their rubbish as well as their pets. Irresponsible people, members of the local community, dump their unwanted dogs in the landfill. Unfortunately, the same goes for people who do not live in the area. These animals lead a tragic life. They are or they have become fearful, they are sick, wandering around, scavenging the garbage for food. Most importantly, they are not neutered so their numbers are increasing and the problem is then exacerbated. Due to the conditions they find themselves in, exposed to all kinds of weather, having no medication for ticks, fleas, and worms they fall ill. Leishmaniasis, ehrlichiosis, mange, skin diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases are some of the most common diseases the Garbage Dogs are suffering from. These dogs and puppies are doomed to a life of misery and pain. The sole volunteer at the site is a lady with a heart of gold, Aphrodite.

Greece is a very well-known tourist destination, due to its natural beauty, archaeological sites, and beautiful landscape. Every year, it attracts many tourists. What many people do not know is that behind this beautiful facade, there is an estimated population of 3.5 million strays wandering the streets in terrible conditions. Local Greek volunteers try their best to alleviate this tragic suffering.

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