It needed the immense and non-stop pressure by furious animal welfare societies, angry animal lovers and every person living in Greece who still keeps a glimpse of common sense, a real shit-storm of angry reactions in the direction of deputy agriculture minister Yannis Tsironis, from the Greek “Eco Greens”, for the supervising Agricultural Minister Vangelis Apostolou to withdraw the despicable draft law for pets and strays in the country.
The cruel draft law would trasnfer all management of strays and pets to municipalities, punish stray’s care and adoption promotions, fine vets for helping animals with no sterilization and microchip and penalize pet owners with several fees, taxes and surreal fines.
“The draft law will be re-introduced when relevant changes have been made,” Apostolou said in a short statement on Tuesday. According to media, Apostolou allegedly intervened after a meeting the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environment Federation and withdrew the draft law which was supposed to remain for consultation for three months. Apostolou reportedly took the withdrawal decision in no agreement with his deputy Tsironis who kept defending the undefendable and in rather aggressive tone towards the critics on social media still on Monday evening.
- I personally would not celebrate much about the withdrawal because it is the second time this draft law is being withdrawn. The first draft was withdrawn in February 2018 and came back a month later in even worse form. In fact he has been trying to hand over management of pets and strays to municipalities right since the beginning of the year.
To make the long draft law a bit short, here is to note that the general idea was to transfer the management of strays to municipalities, excluding animal welfare societies that in fact do all the work.
The law would create so-called online e-shops for the adoption of strays via municipalities websites. “Foreigners could combine their holidays in Greece with the adoption of an animal by surfing in the municipalities websites,” the law noted among others.
And at the same time, it would punish with 1,000 euro everyone who would post on social and other media adoption promotions.
The absurd proposal would enforce sterilization of all pets with the exception an owner would have one male and one female animal. It would fine with 100 euro owners of no sterilized pet but also cash a fee of 100 euro per pet in the exception category.
Vets would be obliged to denounce anyone bringing a not sterilized and not micro-chipped pet but even an injured stray in need of urgent medical help. The vet would be fined with 3,000 euros if not comply with the law.
The law would also impose accommodation criteria for pets and their owners. One pet would need 35 sq meters, and a dog an additional dog house – even if in an apartment without balcony or yard.
Pet owners would have to register their pets to the municipalities.
While imposing fines to every pet owner and every of the thousands of citizens feeding and taking care of strays, the law would reduce penalties for animal abuse!
A fee of some 10 euro would also be imposed on pet food, and another 1o euro fee on every sterilized pet.
All pets should have passports even if they do not travel, and all dog owners should carry the passports when taking a dog for a walk. No compliance would fine the pet owner with 300 euro!
The mandatory passport would be available at 15 euros.
Among others the bill would:
– define an animal owner every person who has accepted to care, feed, protect in every way a stray animal, thus making him the animal’s owner with everything that legally implies for that volunteer person, effectively forcing him to stop caring for stray animals.
– remove from animal welfare organizations the potential to procure marking microchips at a low cost from the free market, thus burdening them with a huge cost, 2 euros per chip in free market, 10, 20, 30 etc to the veterinarians. And the list goes on… A 6 euro fee per chip, obligatory to the owners.
-it prohibits providing veterinary care to both sick, injured strays and non-strays owned animals without distinction, if they do not have a chip, thus punishing both the blameless stray animal and not the irresponsible owner or the municipality. Emergencies are excepted but then again we are wondering what is the definition of an emergency?
Generally the draft law considers as a companion animal only dogs and cats.
Those who choose to have a pet such as a bunny now need to know that this is not a pet under the new law. – I suppose, for the Eco-Green minister a bunny is definitely defined as a meal on the Sunday table…
Apparently certain that all pet owners and animal lovers would violate the law and keep buying pet food, the clever minister had calculated that 3,000, 000 euros per year will be collected and given to municipalities for the management of animals.
- Seeking funds to create a new landscape of pets and animals in Greece, the incapable minister thought to impose fees, penalties and taxes to everything that walks, crawls and flies – although to be honest the bill did not contain provisions on birds and snakes.
Animal organizations and animal lovers went up in arms, pushed for the draft withdrawal and demanded the minister’s resignation …Yesterday! In a common joint statement the federation said:
- The government had opened the way for massive euthanasia since the safeguard of the animal welfare societies in the five-member committee ceases to exist.
- The voluntary action of the animal welfare societies is repealed through contradictory and conflicting ordinances. As a result of this, strays could over flood the entire country. It is worth to mention that adopting young animals up to 6 months would be repealed.
- In practice, the adoption of strays by thousand animal lovers from other countries of the European Uni on is repealed.
- The shameful amendment for the exile of strays up to the mountains is introduced once again.
- Thousands of Greek citizens would be obliged to discard their pets otherwise exhausting fines will be imposed to them because of the limitations of the number of animals in houses and apartments according to this terrible bill.
- vets are called not to examine sick, poisoned, injured etc. if they are not microchipped.
- That drowning, crushing, poisoning, hanging of animals are not subject to the meaning of unlawful killing and the penalty of imprisonment is minor.
Needless to stress that the draft law was/is a grave insult to the animals, strays and pets, a slap of ignorance to the animal welfare organizations and each one of the thousands of animal lovers across the country who help strays solely by their own means and by public donations. A despicable legislation that leaves unprotected injured animals in urgent need of medical aid, punishes rescuers, charges owners with unbelievable amounts of fines and fees, while it decreases penalties for animal abusers.
A shameful draft created by sick bureaucrats and minister’s aides and approved by a minister in charge of animals with absolutely no idea about the real world. I bet my last 2 cents, he belongs ot the category of people running away from a bee or fly.
169 municipalities in Athens, other big cities and regions ignored the minister’s request to consulate with him on the issue.
It is really shocking!
More remarks on the draft by the Federation here (also in English)
There is also a petition against the draft law addressed to the Prime Minister of Greece.
After the withdrawal announcement, animal welfare organizations said they will fight with all their means that no animals law in form close to that one will come to effect. They add that the law has to cover the welfare of all animals not just cats and dogs, and they demand to talk with the authors of the draft.
Also veterinarians demand that they won’t be punished for treating not sterilized or not micro-chipped animals.
Minister Tsironis said in a statement that the new draft will be given for public consultation after 30 days.
The whole idea of such a bill is really shocking, yet I can’t help but think of what people are capable to do when they come to power. Even if it is on a comedy film…
I have to mention that I have been trying to post about the draft bill since the week end, but every time I’d open the post on my PC I would get so upset and that was unable to write more than a few words. Apologies.