The Greek Ministry of Rural Development has announced an amendment to the 2012 Animal Protection Act in order to firm up protection for animals against abuse and give municipalities more power to deal with strays.
New agencies will be created to ensure that any state funds and a ‘pet tax’ imposed on purchases of animals will be used for animal protection.
Under the new animal bill, municipalities will be responsible for the handling of strays, and each municipality can decide on how to deal with them. Municipalities will also get the power to impose stiff penalties to people who abuse pets or stray animals. The funds from the penalties will also go to a fund used for animal protection.
The bill will go to public consultation in a few weeks.
Animal welfare organisations are urging citizens to report incidents involving animal abuse to the police under the provision of existing legislation with as much evidence as possible. Police and prosecuting authorities are taking animal abuse cases very seriously and follow up complaints.
There are an estimated one million strays in Greece, with many thousands of abandoned animals in Crete alone.