World Animal Day

4th October 2021 marks the annual World Animal Day, an international day of action for the rights and welfare of animals that is celebrated in Greece and all around the world.  The day is also the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals in Western Christianity.  The Greek Parliament approved a new law on pet ownership in September, which Prime Minister Mitsotakis said will create rules so that no animal will be abandoned or abused.  Greece is changing and is finally adopting a modern legal framework for the protection of pets.  The many new laws introduced include the banning of cat and dog sales at pet shops and the sale of pets will only be allowed by approved breeders and owners.  Neutering will become mandatory for all owners and should be done within six months of the pet's acquisition if the animal is more than one year old.

Stray dogs are part of an unbroken image not just in Athens, but in most Greek cities.  According to Greek animal charities, more than a million stray dogs and cats are living on Greek streets.  Most of then are friendly, but the inhumane conditions under which they're forced to live, especially during the hot summer days and cold winter nights, make them aggressive, considering the lack of food and water and attacks most of them experience on a daily basis.  The financial crisis that savaged Greece for nearly a decade has made the situation even worse.  Countless Greek families left their pets on the streets as they couldn't afford their care anymore.  This, combined with the lack of education and funding by the Greek authorities has left thousands of homeless animals without sterilisation or neutering.