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Strays in Greece: An open wound as they are over 3 millions

Stray animals are a chronic and painful problem in Greece, with their number now “reaching” three million and, unfortunately, heading towards four. The rate of the flow of new strays every day in Greece is “increasing by leaps and bounds”, the president of the Panhellenic Nemesis Federation for animals, Natasa Bombolaki, tells daily

In fact, there is no official record of stray animals in Greece by the state. Thus, the animal-loving community for about three or four years now has in its “hands” a number of stray dogs and cats that reaches three million animals.

This number was officially confirmed in 2022 by a study by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Ms. Bombolaki says adding ‘that is, official registration currently exists only from the AUTH.”

“Today we are talking about a number approaching four million. The rate of the flow of new strays every day in Greece is increasing by leaps and bounds and we see this from our experience and our action as activist animal lovers who protect stray animals”, emphasizes the president of “Nemesis”.

Stray animals are increasing daily

In particular, as Natasha Bombolaki explains, “our position is that the number of stray animals is increasing by leaps and bounds every day”.

“It comes from the abandonment of either hounds or herding dogs or dogs of other private individuals, these are the main categories involved in the phenomenon of millions of stray animals in a European country,” she explains.

“We are the only European country with such a dizzying number of stray animals,” emphasizes Ms. Bombolaki on

“Measures taken by all governments have failed”

Every day, animal welfare associations, doctors, volunteer citizens who try to help themselves find thousands of kittens, puppies, adult animals. Unfortunately, “the flow does not stop because the measures that all governments have been taking for 25 years have failed miserably and yet they continue to this day to follow the wrong recipes and tactics and they see it themselves, we all see it, that the strays animals live among us.”

According to the president of “Nemesis”, stray animals are everywhere, mainly in the Greek province and Attica, – if we exclude the closed city.

Proposals for a solution to the issue

The “solution”, which has failed, followed by all governments so far is to finance the municipalities for the creation of kennels, as Natasa Bombolaki explains.

“We see, although Greece and municipalities and other private individuals are full of kennels, the number of strays outside is constantly increasing, so the kennel is not a solution. It can take 300 animals inside, but thousands live outside”, she says characteristically.

The solution they don’t want to see is that each municipality must have a municipal veterinary clinic, because if a kennel to be built based on the conditions required by European legislation it needs 500,000 euros, while a municipal veterinary clinic needs 40,000, for example. A kennel to maintain annually with around 100 animals needs 50,000 euros. A municipal veterinary clinic will only want the vet’s salary and some expenses related to drugs and materials.”

Municipalities that do not have municipal veterinary clinics, in fact very few do, in order to meet the obligation of the law for sterilization of stray animals, “take an amount from their annual budget. For example, the municipality of Chania “kept” 40,000 euros for sterilizations.

“This amount goes to private vets. The prices are such that with 40,000 euros you will sterilize around 200 animals”, points out Mrs. Bombolaki.

Therefore, “it’s a waste of money. You sterilize some minimal strays to be “covered” (s.s. by the law) while the large number of strays is inexhaustible, reproduces and every year a new number is added with all kinds of abandonment and thus we never reach a drastic limitation of the number” .

“We can’t understand why they don’t put a compulsory lesson in schools that will refer to the respect we owe to the environment and everything that lives in it, therefore also to animals,” she adds.

Another step that could contribute to the solution of the issue, according to Mrs. Bombolaki, is to solve the problem that there are laws that are not implemented. For example, “while chipping has been mandatory on a pet since 2003, today in 2023 only 40% of pet owners have chipped their pets.”

A constant request for Animal Police

“We propose that the law begin to operate with a constant request of the animal welfare organizations: the creation of a special body in EL.AS. for Animal Police, which exists in many states.”

It will be responsible for stray animals as well as “enforcement and control of the laws and, of course, it will deal exclusively with abuses.”

The last measure they should take, according to Natasa Bombolaki, concerns the fact that for years “thousands of puppies and kittens a year have been illegally imported through the channels that someone enters our country, which the illegal importers cannot then sell them all and leave them on the street.” It also concerns the illegal breeding of companion animals, according to her.

“Almost 60% of Greek homes illegally breed genuine pets, hounds, chihuahuas and all kinds of animals. If these wounds are not closed, we will never see a positive result,” she asserts.

Extreme forms of torture and animal abuse

At the same time, the news about animal abuse is now numerous and appalling. As Natasa Bombolaki confirms, “unfortunately, we now have extreme forms of torture and abuse of animals.”

She adds that “people lash out more and more at such weak creatures (…). We have an increase despite the fact that some forms of abuse have become a felony.”

“Although institutionally this has happened, in practice we see that these cases, even though they are a felony, are dragged into the drawers in terms of time, of the country’s local prosecutors, with the result that any punishment comes after several years and they walk around free and they continue to abuse animals,” she stresses.

Finally, she emphasizes that for 20 years “we have also been running at the institutional level in order to convince governments, ministers, parties, authorities, submitting realistic and scientific proposals.”


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One comment

  1. It is like fighting a losing battle, we feed around 75 stray cats everyday in various local areas on Crete, once a month we try to get 4 or 5 neutered via the free neutering sessions but all the time more are getting pregnant, we manage to home the odd one but there’s not a massive demand, the only answer is more people getting them neutered