Greek ridiculousness has no limits. When the corruption reaches the levels of a sub-Saharan African country (no offense), and when every government official can do whatever he wants to, simply because…he can, the innocent pay the price and the frustration reaches unprecedented levels.
If you are not Greek, this will be a bit complicated for you to understand, so be patient (for the dogs’ sake). I’ll try to make it as simple as possible:
Greece is a third world country when it comes to animal welfare. There are more than a million strays roaming the streets, being abused, poisoned, ran over and starved every day. We can’t save them all because we can’t rehome them all.
Shelters that belong to charities, which means shelters that are ran by volunteers who love dogs, are very rarely given an official permit – almost never actually. Guess what: charities don’t have the money to bribe a corrupt government official, and even if they did, they would rather spend it on saving, treating and feeding dogs. On the contrary, public shelters (aka concentration camps) always get a permit. Who cares if there is no vet caring for the dogs, if they are ran by employees who spent an hour per day abusing or simply neglecting the animals, if dogs starve to death and feed off each other? They have a permit!
YES, Greece gets money – EU money – for animal welfare. Now, guess which of the two types of shelters above “profits” from that money?
Taking those facts into consideration, let’s take a look at what happened to the shelter of Halkida.
A New Zealander (that’s right: a NEW ZEALANDER) donated a property to the local charity of Halkida, where the shelter is built and ran by volunteers only. The local authorities stand by the charity – well, two decades ago, corruption was still naive I guess. The shelter works legally until 2003.
The shelter needs a new permit. The reason: illegal houses built all around it make the pre existing shelter illegal! You heard right: the shelter was there, houses were illegally built around the area, and now the shelter is illegal because it is too close to people’s homes according to the law! The permit needed is never granted by the state.
2014 – 2015
The local charity keeps neutering and spaying dogs and cats for free. It asks the municipality for collaboration but all it gets is a “no, thank you”. The municipality of Halkida supposedly spent 100.000 euros (EU money, just reminding you) for spaying and neutering 500 animals! (you do the math…), but the 576 that were neutered by the charity cost the state nothing, because the money came out of volunteers’ and vets’ pockets.
The local authorities burst into the shelter one day, trying to remove the dogs and close it down. They are confronted by infuriated citizens and by the vet of the local clinic, who has been standing by the strays for years and who basically tells the authorities that they can only remove the dogs she cares for “over her dead body”.
Oh I almost forgot!
The municipality of Halkida does have a public concentration camp (I’m sorry, dog shelter). Volunteers are not allowed to access it. There is no vet caring for the dogs. In fact..what dogs? Has anyone ever seen those dogs? All you get about this public shelter is a page in the municipality’s website with no photos – oh but of course, these is a three member committee in charge of it (three salaries… EU money, just reminding you one more time).
The 150 well fed, vaccinated, sterilized, healthy, adoptable animals of the Clive shelter will be removed…where? Nobody knows. Probably somewhere where they will starve to death, while the municipality will be collecting money for them and filling the pockets of corrupt committee members.
*Oh, I almost forgot! The 150 dogs that the state is so eager to confiscate, are dogs whose vaccines, operations, sterilization, treatment and food we paid by volunteers. The authorities couldn’t care less about them, until now, when they suddenly decided that they have a say in their future.
Welcome to the Third World ladies and gentlemen. Isn’t it picturesque?