|by Bruce Hymers
This month's subject is horses. We have heard many reports of horses being left unattended in fields for months on end where they become at best lacklustre, and at worst, malnourished and diseased. Many horse loving tourists have expressed horror at the decrepitude of these animals which does nothing to improve the image of Paros.
For a horse or pony to maintain any reasonable life quality, its basic needs are food supplements, (the grazing in a Cycladic field is far from adequate), treatment for internal and external Parasites, and attention paid to the length of its teeth and the state of its hooves. Rather than a vigilante approach to this problem, a positive and constructive solution is needed.
There are many ex-pats on Paros with sufficient experience and the inclination to vastly improve the lives of these unfortunate creatures. In exchange they could ride and enjoy the horse as though it were their own. Whilst feasible, this idea is fraught with potential difficulties. There have already been one or two cases where individuals have undertaken the care of a horse for a certain period during the owner's absence. The owner has returned several months late after the carer has spent enough money on food etc to practically own the horse and then have it taken away. Agreements on time frames and expenses between carers and owners should be clarified in advance to avoid similar disappointments. There are many kind but busy owners who would be very grateful to know their animal is in good hands. Bearing this in mind, anyone interested in caring for a horse or pony on its owners land can contact PAWS by email, and we will put you in contact with any owners who are seeking carers. We will publish an article in the Greek local press to inform owners of the scheme.
Since the previous edition of Paros life went to press, it has been confirmed that cats infected with the H5N1 virus have developed the disease and subsequently died. The transmission of the virus from birds to cats has occurred when the cats have eaten infected bird carcasses. It has also been confirmed that cats can pass on H5N1 to one another without contact with birds. So far this has happened mainly in Asian zoos, but there has been one infected domestic cat found dead on the German island of Ruegen, where one hundred birds have died in the last month. Although there has as yet been no reported case of Avian flu on Paros in birds or cats, I will research the availability of a vaccine against H5N1 suitable for cats and print any information I can find next month.