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Greek Animals Draft Law passed the Cabinet: Important Changes on the way

Important changes in the Law for the protection of animals are on the way as the Ministry for Rural Development and Food finally submitted a draft with regulations that aim to protect animals – strays or companion animals. The draft bill foresees no-redeemable penalties for animals abusers and fines up to 30,000 euros. A microchip data base. Ban circuses with animals. The changes come after immense pressure from national and international animal welfare societies and an increasing movement of organized or not organized animal lovers who are fed up seeing mainly dogs and cat to get tortured, hanged, drown, poisoned or shot to death and the culprits mostly go free. The draft Law includes 18 regulations and I try to summarize.

The law will be open to public consultation until April 15, 2011, so, please, make your comments in opengov,gr  – but to be political correct in Greek!

The Draft Law for the companion animals, the stray companion animals/pets and the protection of animals from exploitment or use for profit has been passed by the Cabinet.
It includes 18 new regulations on companion and stray pets and the general system of protection of animals:

1. It bans the participation of each kind of animal in circuses or other similar public spectacle for profit. It bans the participation  of mutilated animals in faires.

2. Creation of a Web Based Electronic database of the pets and their onwers.

3. Microchip in dogs and cats for sale is getting  compulsory. Compulsory will be also the microchip for all cats and dogs, whether family pets or strays that are being recovered form the strees. 
4. Hunter’s  license will not be granted ot hundetrs if they don’t microchip their dogs.
5. Pets with no microchip will not be allowed to enter Greece.
6. Similarly prohibited in any way are Ads for adoption or free allocation of pets without the listing of microchip number (This will burden rescuers with additional costs)

7. Determination of  specific welfare rules that owners have to follow for their pets.

8. Creation of an organized system of collection and management of stray animals in each municipality, in cooperation with animal welfare associations.

9. The possibility of animal welfare associations to participate actively on the side of municipalities throughout the framework for the protection of animals.

10. All strays who are collected will be microchipped, neutered and treaded.

11. Institutionalization of responsibility of  municipalities  for any loss or damage caused to a third person by stray animals. 

12. Municipal shelters for stray animals are places for temporary and not permanent residence of homeless animals. These shelters are to provide all the necessary medical care to animals in need.

13. The return of stray animals in their natural environment is with certain restrictions. It is not allowed return in areas of hospitals, schools, sports centers, highways, ports, airports, archaeological sites and areas of high tourist traffic(?).

14. The sterilizations carried out on stray animals is made by veterinarians, and even mobile vet units upon a permission. Sterilizations may be carried out for free by foreign volunteer veterinarians.

15. The abuse and cruelty to animals is punishable by imprisonment which cannot be redeemed, and a fine of up to 30,000 euros, regardless of the administrative fine. (what is the imprisonment time? 

16. Additional measures to protect animals, provide a multifaceted intervention of Attorney and temporary or permanent removal of animals from the offender.

17. The possibility of transporting small pets via  public transport means is allowed, provided the animal is placed in a secure cage and is accompanied by the owner or companion.

18. Finally, tightening both criminal penalties and administrative fines for law breakers which are more stringent in case of relapse, in order to have a full, proportionate, dissuasive and effective system of sanctions.

The proposed bill is to further additions, improvements, maintenance and modernization of existing legislation to protect the animals in our country to become more effective and efficient. As stated by the Deputy Minister for Rural Development and Food Milena Apostolakis, “The behavior of each society towards animals is primarily a question of culture.”.
In general the draft bill in not bad, I hope there will be constructive proposals and at the very end the law will apply to put an end to what it seems an endless suffering to the animals in Greece. Unfortunately I see no mentioning for Fur animals.
You can write your porposals in the ‘Comment’ section and I can post them in Greek in the "opengov".

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  1. I would like to say something that has been bothering me for many years and its about dog owners in Greece. The most resent law in Greece about companion animals is the 3170/2003. In the second article , paragraph 1 says that the dog owner is obligated to clean the environment after his dog has done its “need” .There is no fine that has been set by law from the Greek government so every city can choose to fine or no fine.After a lot of research in I found that there is actually a fine for leaving your dogs poo in the street set 50euros for streets ,pavements etc. and 100euros outside of playgrounds , schools , archaeological places . The last time i visited the Mayor offices in Liwsion street I also saw a big poster with a similar campaign witch also said that people will be given for free special bags and that special disposal Cans will be placed but unfortunately this Campaign stayed as it is -as a poster- only inside a building. Many times i thought of starting a campaign about it and even made photocopies with a pictures and under it the law. But is something that i can only do in my neighborhood and it would be nice to find people that want to help! Thats it for now!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      we have been trying to persuade our municipality to start a Pick your Dogs’ Poo campaign too. It may happen.

  2. It’s about time something is going to happen about the animal abuse. I really do hope it’s getting trough.
    With kind regards and good luck

    Louise Kuijt

    • keeptalkinggreece

      thank you Louise! I am sure all animal lovers are delighted that finally something is moving here!

  3. While education is the key in changing attitudes toward homeless companion animals, legislation is the only real way to ensure that everyone is held accountable for the animals. At this point in time, animals are not granted rights.

    Government funded shelter (public shelters or pounds) laws seem to be not much more than an administrative matter. Shelters are more often than not seriously under-funded which results in sub-standard conditions for the animals and millions of euthanasias of healthy animals per year. Compound the lack of funding and lack of priority in state and local budgets with the uneducated public who don’t see the urgent need to spay and neuter their pets and the many people who see animals as disposable commodities, and it is no wonder that there are many apathetic people caught in the system. It becomes is easy and even necessary to close your heart when you have to see loving animals killed every day because of uneducated and uncaring people.ALL shelters should become no-kill shelters, they have to work with rescue organizations, and improve the adoption rate.

    Spay and neuter of pets should be obligatory unless you have a breeding license, but breeders should be checked out thoroughly.

    Animal cruelty and abuse laws are generally considered to be “morality laws” to keep people on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, animal advocates have a mainly uphill battle to show legislators and voters alike the need for tougher abuse laws. Fortunately for us, even if people and legislators are not so much interested in protecting the animals, there have been scientific studies that prove the link between animal abuse, spousal and child abuse, murder and other violent crimes, and even serial killers. According to the book Sexual Homicide Patterns and Motives by Robert Ressler, Ann Burgess and John Douglas, of the convicted sexual murderers that were a part of their study 26% abused animals as children, 46% abused animals as adolescents, and 36% continued to abuse animals as adults.

    Before people own dogs in Greece they should have to be educated before they can buy or adopt a dog. Maybe dog licenses is a good idea?

    Pet shops should NOT have animals in cages in their shops, that in my opninion is very cruel.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Funding is a problem and I have been missing this part on the new law.
      Ok the law cannot ‘order’ education campaings but things do change in long terms when people see the differences and law is applied.

      However… A dog licence? How about a cat licences as well etc etc? An Orwell state? Too much bureacracy would hinder people from adopting an animal. And I know a lot who have nothing but love and want to share it with a homeless animal.

  4. I just wonder about number 6. Does that mean we aint allowed to put adds about dogs or cats we need home for???? Because if so, WRONG WRONG WRONG!!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      there should not be ads WITHOUT the microchip number, Tina. This is a problem indeed as recuers will have to microchip the animal before give it for adoption. That is they will have to carry the costs. Here something has to be changed. Any proposal?

      • Well, then the government can cover the cost of the microships. Volunteers CANT keep paying and paying, we are already tied up enough! Microship is the last thing we do, since its more important that they get vaccinated ect. So ONES again they will make a law which will just make it even more difficult for animal lovers to help, instead of runing after those doing the abuse.. Typical!!! Its like the are making animal lovers into criminals!!
        Proposal?? YES!! To start using their brains to think with, instead of sitting on them!.. its a total disgrace!

        • keeptalkinggreece

          Of course, Tina, that’s what I think too. however let’s wait and see the ifnal wording. I am sure animal welfare orgnisations will try to change it.

  5. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. My comments relate to the numbered regulations above

    Without substantial concessions on the prices charged by veterinarians OR subsidized by the government this measure could well lead to further abandonment of animals – the financial crisis in Greece has already resulted in increased dumping and abandonment. Animal organizations and groups are struggling to survive NOW – this measure without such concessions could financially cripple those helping stray animals
    This needs additional requirements – micro chip AND sterilisation it is well known that abandoned hunting dogs lead to a huge increase in the population of stray animals. This would be an effective method and could be policed by the Hunting associations with supervisory checks from authorities. This policy should also be a requirement in law for all pre sale cats and dogs sold through pet shops and breeders, Those that buy exotic breeds can well afford to pay extra for this and would put an end to the increased stray population via these abandoned animals – this would also be an enormous cost saving to animal welfare groups. Easy to administer oversee and cost effective.
    Sterilisation requirement also
    Financial details required along with details of WHERE these strays are to be placed ?
    Financial details required.
    Without any facilities to shelter and care for stray animals this inclusion could well lead to a situation where mass killings are aided with a blind eye response from authorities. If stray animals are reported as a problem the authorities are at risk of being prosecuted.
    A stray animals natural environment is not in isolated areas but with people and in places where food is available – and indeed high tourist traffic areas
    Sterilization by visiting volunteer vets is fraught with problems – still restrictive and subject to harassment and abuse, as are animal groups that use these valuable services – There needs to be an acceptance of responsibility from Greece’s Veterinary Services to participate in this national animal over population crisis. Subsidies from Government, considerably reduced charges and the acceptance of responsibility to tackle humanely the animal over population from the Greek Government.
    Financial details are imperative here – increased fines means increased revenue. What, if any, proportion of this will be put back into animal welfare. What, if anything, will be done to reimburse animal organizations and groups who presently bear the full costs of bringing these cases and in addition often the special medical needs, care, shelter and re homing costs of the surviving abused and traumatized animals.
    To where ? This cannot be achieved presently…. there are no places to place animals in safety and care.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Molly, I just saw in that we have to wait for the final wording when the draft bill will be uploaded on internet. So let’s wait and we’ll talk again.

      Thanks for taking the time to question some issues.

  6. It would be nice to think these proposals will go ahead. However, nobody has been adhering to law 3170/2003 so why would a new law be any different? Hunters are a law unto themselves anyway.
    The new regulations all sound very good on paper but in practical terms, probably not viable. Regulation 13 for example?? So where would these unhomed animals be taken to, an isolated spot in the middle of nowhere? Out of sight, out of mind?

    Gawf already had a mobile sterilisation unit some while ago but it got phased out!

    Sorry not to sound optimistic, I hope I will be pleasantly surprised one day!

    P.S. There would be no mentioning of fur animals because there are in excess of 30 fur farms in Northern Greece, supported by the Chairman of Pasok, Mr. Petsalnikos!

  7. The issue is not that the laws do not exist (many animal protection laws apply to all EU countiee already), but that Greece continues to flaunt these laws by not enforcing them!
    Unfortunately no matter what gets passed I doubt if either the police or local authorities will actually positively enforce it……just like the no smoking ban