A Fight to Help Nafplio’s Stray Dogs
Stelios Kyriakou, well known fοr his work in animal rescue in the Nafplio area, spoke to AMC about the challenges he faces, the lack of state assistance and what it really means to own a pet
After the closure of the local animal charity, which he led for 10 years, Stelios Kyriakou decided to house 90 dogs on his own land, just outside the city. Today he looks after 120 mainly abused or sick animals, some of which he tries to find new homes for.
“Local councils couldn’t cope with stray animals if it weren’t for volunteers. They should be assisting their efforts, rather than trying to discourage them”, Stelios says. State intervention like occasional neutering programmes, is not enough. Stelios covers all his own expenses, with only his friends and family to help.
Stelios finds that very few people have time for animals, while he attributes the big numbers of stray dogs to people buying them and then letting them go when they can’t cope.
“Local councils couldn’t cope with stray animals if it weren’t for volunteers. They should be assisting their efforts, rather than trying to discourage them”
“With the council’s assistance, we’d managed to neuter a big number of strays but we continue to find puppies in the street. Where do they all come from?”
He is now advising Nafplio Council on issues relating to animal welfare and imposing substantial fines on those who neglect or abuse their pets. “If people won’t listen to reason, there have to be consequences”.
He believes that the hard fought change in the law regarding animal welfare and the subsequent penalties is a step in the right direction, as long as it is enforced around the country.
In the Nafplio area, things have definitely become harder without the existence of the local Animal Welfare Society, which suffered without local government support. On the other hand, media exposure, both via traditional and social media outlets, is a great help in raising awareness and in encouraging donations.