| by Vicky Preston
On Sunday May 13th, the Paros Animal Welfare Society held its General Assembly to elect a new board of administration.
For the coming administrative period the following people will serve on the committee: Nicolas Stephanou, Claire Kalemkeris, Dimitris Meremetis, Vicki Preston, Martina Blair, Yannis Theodoridis, Nikos Sarantinidis and Dimitra Drakou. The first meeting of the new committee will be convened to elect the members to their specific duties.
Outgoing President (Nicholas Stephanou) and Secretary (Claire Kalemkeris) of the association presented the work that has been done during the past term of office and emphasized the need for more members of the community - both Greek and foreign - to get involved if PAWS is going to be able to achieve any of the hoped-for future successes in animal welfare on Paros. Without additional resources, however, it is impossible to actualize most of the good ideas and projects suggested by the membership and planned by the board.
Nicolas asked the General Assembly to especially recognize the phenomenal work that has been done by Barbara Burki in re-homing 200 of Paros’s stray dogs. The current situation for Barbara, however, cannot continue indefinitely, as it has completely taken over her home and her life for several years now. She has asked that the Municipality provide a temporary facility for dogs “in transit” to their new homes and that in the meantime she receives payment for the huge amount of work that is currently involved in this effort. This specific issue was put to the vote and the General Assembly agreed that PAWS should be able to contract out work to Barbara or others like her when necessary.
The topic of the “conspiracy theory” that has arisen in recent years with regard to animal welfare groups in Greece who have succeeded in finding homes for stray animals in other European countries was also mentioned. Nicolas explained that there exists a misguided belief that dogs sent to loving homes abroad are, in fact, being shipped there to be used for experiments in laboratories. This is, of course, completely unfounded and the rehoming of dogs by PAWS and by other societies has been fully documented to prove that they have gone to bona fide animal lovers.
Nicolas pointed out that this theory anyway makes absolutely no economic sense at all - why would anyone go to the great expense of vaccinating, chipping and transporting animals which could be bred at practically no cost locally?!
He also mentioned that PAWS hopes to get some additional funds from the municipality in order to organize a sterilization programme for cats as this has recently been much more limited in scope than the pro-gramme for dogs.
Some useful ideas for the new committee to consider were put forward by the PAWS members who were present at the General Assembly including: setting up an “adopt a dog” website; looking into the organization in China which has saved the moon bears for fund-raising ideas, following up on members subscriptions and communicating with them more regularly; fitting the local stray dogs with collars bearing the logo of the Paros Municipality to show they are members of the community and that they are supported and protected by the authorities; organizing collectors with PAWS tins to approach visitors directly for donations and copying Mykonos’s idea to have a sculpture at the port/ airport for visitors to donate their loose change towards animal welfare.
The PAWS accounts to date follow below and Nicolas announced that anyone interested in going through the figures in more detail is welcome to do so at the PAWS website www.paws.gr. The login (only to protect private data from web robots) is: username: pawsmember, password: letmein.