Greek Government Drops Bill on Pets, Strays Following Outcry



The Greek government was forced to withdraw proposed legislation on pets and strays following widespread outcry from animal welfare organizations and opposition parties.

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Vangelis Apostolou announced that the bill will be updated and tabled on a later date.

The bill, which among other provisions obligated Greek animal owners to neuter their pets or pay a levy, was posted for public consultation only last week.

Animal welfare organizations argued that owning a pet will become beyond the reach of many people, some of which will be forced either to surrender their animal to their local municipality or to abandon it on the street.

They also set up an appeal to block the legislation, claiming that the bill criminalizes people that rescue, treat and offer stray animals for adoption, while it promotes and facilitates the mass trade in cats and dogs.

Campaigners also warned that the adoption of a stray animal, either within Greece or abroad, will become almost impossible and new categories of strays will be created that will be candidates for euthanasia.

At the same time, they criticized the bill for reducing penalties for cruelty, abuse, dog fighting and puppy farming.

Animal cruelty has dominated Greek headlines recently, particularly after footage emerged showing two soldiers tormenting a dog in Epirus, north-western Greece.