“Unfortunately the leadership of the Panhellenic Veterinary Association and a segment of [local] vets for the umpteenth time in our country prove to us that the objections concerning free sterilizations on stray animals protect vested interests while the interests of the animals come second to financial gain” said an official of the Chania Animal Welfare in a statement to the press.
A three day stray animal sterilisation session planned to take place in Chania last week was suspended at short notice, with the Chania Animal Welfare association laying the blame for the cancellation on the leadership of the Greek veterinarian association and a series of bureaucratic bungles at Chania council.
According to animal welfare organisations and volunteers, the session was cancelled “without (reasonable) official explanation”. They were furious, as a surgery sterilisation session requires a lot of work to organise and it involves a large number of volunteers who catch animals from the street and arrange post operative care before the animals are released or fostered.
The session was stopped by the police, who intervened, after reports by persons unknown that the operations were illegal, because the municipal vet was not present. The police presence was requested to ensure that there would be no procedures carried out by the qualified and licenced German volunteer vets. Other volunteers who had caught and brought strays for surgery were directed to take them away, presumably back to the street where they were found.
The sterilisation session had received council approval the previous week. However, the presence of the municipal vet at the sessions was deemed a necessary compromise to satisfy those objecting to the sterilisation programme carried out by EU qualified and licenced volunteers. The municipal vet, who is a council employee, apparently submitted her resignation on Monday morning, just when the surgery was about to begin. The unexpected absence of the municipal vet forced the cancellation of the session.
Animal welfare associations claim the Panhellenic Veterinary Association was behind the cancellation as part of the next stage of the ongoing dispute between the Greek vets association and animal welfare organisations.
It is well known that vet’s association objects to the sterilisation programme staffed by volunteer vets since 2012, when local authorities who became legally responsible for the management of stray animals, allowed licenced EU qualified vets to perform free sterilisations.
The majority of Municipal authorities realise that the programme is beneficial to the community, the citizens and stray animals, “Our animal welfare organizations are in co-operation with all these volunteer vets and we are not interested if the legitimate volunteer is Greek, English, French or German” when the list of stray cats and dogs that wait for sterilisation in Chania town alone exceeds 1500 animals, the statement continues.
Under the circumstances, it is not clear when or if the sterilisation programme in Chania will resume.
Edited for Apokoronas News