|1- The issue
We at PAWS are trying to establish an infrastructure in which the town is more
actively engaged in financial responsibility to the stray population of dogs
and cats on Paros, Greece. We are also trying to create some practical resources
to expand the work of our predecessors. The stray dogs and cats problem must
be addressed as new animals permanently add to the population and life for
most of them is very brief.
Not taking action has destructive consequences: disease, packs of dogs running
together, damage to livestock, soiling of town areas, exasperation of some fellow-citizens
and finally cruelty to animals which is never a pretty picture, is an insult
to the community's humanity and civility, and counterproductive to the image
of a tourist destination.
2- What has been accomplished
In its 6 years of action, PAWS has sterilized, treated,
fed and re-homed innumerable amount of strays. This action
has maintained a tolerable situation. Unfortunately action
has always been on individual levels and has been dependant
on the resilience and patience of a few persons. No basic
infrastructure has been ever developed.
3- What is going
At this moment, all of the previous locations
that were temporary hostels for strays on Paros are no
longer available. We are not able to respond as we would
wish to requests of assistance to strays and PAWS may
loose its credibility.
4- What needs to be accomplished
It is not easy to define clear policies. The legal infrastructure has contradictions and does not offer the necessary means to enforce it.
• The research we have been doing showed to us that no-kill shelters where dogs stay permanently until their adoption, have failed
• The experience of Syros where from the 40 stray dogs of Hermoupolis that were sterilized last year only 10 of them are still alive, warns us that sterilization-re-release programs without a parallel aggressive re-homing program, are inefficient.
• PAWS previous collaboration with Barbara Burki (re-homing in German speaking countries) had very good results: the dogs were given the chance for a good life and they left, stopping creating disruption to the community.
• The big deficiency (of animal welfare action) has always been the lack of
information-education programs; only this kind of action will touch the origin
of the problem and without it the problem will continue reproducing itself (more
sterilizations, more re-homing, more cruelty to animals,..). We would like to
organize information-education programs together with other local institutions
involved with the protection of naturals environment. The programs will also
be an opportunity to communicate messages about the virtues of sterilization,
the virtues of adopting strays instead of buying pedigreed animals and about
the dangers of certain races (pit bull, rottwieler, doberman, etc.) which have
unfortunately become popular on Paros as well.
• We need to respect the polyvalence of public squares and streets that need to promote a positive image since our main industry is tourism. If we would like to ensure that we live in a civilized society, we need to find the solution which respects the needs of the community and its visitors, and simultaneously is humane to animals.
• We need to acknowledge the issue of property losses of livestock breeders
yet it is PAWS responsibility to advocate on behalf of the rural stray population
which unfortunately if not attended will end up dead as they cannot roam freely
without causing destruction.
• The municipality has the legal obligation to make a census of its jurisdiction’s
stray population. We propose an original collaring that would inform people about
the dogs' availability for adoption.
• We propose graphics stickers in Greek placed on the dumpsters to help reduce
the dumping of puppies and kittens in the garbage.
• The law is clear in terms of the municipality that it bears legal and financial
responsibility for its stray population. The town must take some responsibility
for the stray population rather than leave the burden to a few compassionate
people of various neighborhoods who become the dumping ground of citizens who
failed to take the responsibilities for their animals. The program throughout
Greece to microchip dogs was designed to insure that pet owners be responsible
for their animals, that is why the law for micro chipping needs to be enforced.
• The program which needs to be implemented is a “wheel”: without each component the program will fail as it has happened in many other locals. The components of the “wheel” are: STERILIZATION – EDUCATION – OBEDIENCE TRAINING – RE-HOMING
5- Immediate action
The municipality must participate in running state funded programs for:
- development of a clinic / recovery place
The municipality must appoint a responsible person for the strays, for better
communication with PAWS.
PAWS will concentrate in education programs, as well
as in re-homing structures, both locally and abroad. An optimized use of the
web will be afforded for both programs.