Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis claims new pet ownership laws will aim to ensure no animal in Greece is abandoned or abused.
Mitsotakis made the claim via a tweet last Wednesday, after draft legislation was ratified at the Parliament committee level. It is now scheduled for debate and a subsequent plenary vote.
The draft law on pet ownership includes legal changes long sought by animal rights groups. If passed, it will introduce far stricter penalties for animal abuse, including acts such as abandonment, shooting strays, intentional injury and poisoning.
Authorities will also have access to a database of people convicted for animal abuse, one expected to be cross-referenced with the domesticated pet registry.
The draft bill also calls for DNA samples to be taken from pets, along with owners’ particulars, for storage in a databank, thereby dissuading people from abandoning their animals.
Animal rights and welfare groups in Greece, along with many animal lovers in the country, applaud the government’s attempts to tackle animal abuse and abandonment.
Elizabeth Iliakis, who operates the Souda Shelter in Chania, on the island of Crete, a region plagued with abandonment and abuse of animals, told The Pappas Post the news laws are a step in the right direction.
“The new law will not solve the immense problem Greece is plagued with overnight. Millions of strays that run the streets will not instantly vanish. But it is a step in the right direction,” Illiakis said. “As a rescuer in Greece it is very satisfying to finally be acknowledged and referred to in a positive light. I am comforted by the willingness the government shows to help.”
In Athens, Themis Psaltopoulos and his partner Christopher Jones, pet owners who live in Petralona and have rescued seven stray animals in the last six months, also welcome the new law.
“A simple stroll through central Athens highlights just how much of an issue animal abandonment is in Greece,” Psaltopoulos told The Pappas Post. “As animal lovers and pet owners, we are obviously pleased to see the Greek government finally making moves to improve the situation.”
Featured image: Themis Psaltopoulos, Christopher Jones and their rescued dog Apollo.
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