Murdering the strays is one of Greece’s most common traditions, practiced by individuals and sometimes even by official channels. It is a method of population control that has been going on for generations, and no matter how much animal lovers and charities try their best to protect the innocent, it is simply never enough. Being involved in Animal Welfare in Greece is never easy, but dealing with mass murder every day can make you sick.
A stray’s lifespan is considered to be two years maximum, and one of the most common reasons of death is poisoning. While local organizations do everything they can to inform the public, feed, neuter and protect some of the millions of strays living in Greece, some sick individuals lurking in every neighborhood have a different method. Rat poison or smashed glass is put in fool and left on the streets for the strays to find and eat. Both methods cause an agonizing death.
A few days ago, August 15 2016, three of Larissa’s stray dogs passed away, suffering unimaginable pain. August 15 is the biggest holiday in Greece, and when I say the biggest, I literally mean the biggest. Right in the heart of the summer, Greeks celebrate the “falling asleep” of the Virgin Mary or the the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. More of an opportunity for vacation and less a religious celebration, August 15 is a national holiday when nobody works and everyone relaxes.
Larissa is one of the biggest cities in Greece and has bid for European Capital Culture in 2021. As everywhere, stray dogs and cats live among the people, being fed by some, and rejected by others. The night between the 14 and 15 of August, someone thought it was the right time to spread death in the center of the city. Three stray dogs, well known around the area, neutered, microchipped and taken care of by some of the residents passed away.
The local charity has been doing everything they can so that the people responsible are brought to justice, but as usual, mass murders like these go unpunished. Unless someone talks, it is almost impossible to detect who it was that gathered some leftovers, smashed a couple of glasses, mixed it with the food, woke up when everyone was asleep and left the “feast” in a corner for the dogs to find, eat, and have their internal organs tore apart while they were seizuring in agony.
In case you are wondering why we do not pick the strays from the streets, we can’t. They are so many that they have nowhere to be placed. In case you are wondering how this horror can stop, it can’t – at least not until some of those “proud to be Greek” trashes are wiped off the map. In case you are wondering how come strays keep popping up although they are being poisoned so often, it’s because new ones are abandoned per thousands and only a bunch of us have the responsibility of neutering our dogs. And in case you are wondering whether I take care of packs of strays in my neighborhood, I don’t. I either take them in or let them be. Because finding a dog you take care of, feed, and love poisoned can easily trigger the serial killer in you, and how can I keep rescuing when being locked behind bars?