Animal abuse rates in Greece remain high, despite new, stricter animal protection legislation.
In recent years, Greece has been among the countries with the highest rates of animal maltreatment, despite improvements in legislation imposing stricter penalties for animal abusers.
Data shows that the number of complaints about animal abuse has risen sharply, but the number of abusers arrested and brought to justice has not increased accordingly.
Vangelis Drivas, Police Officer, Clinical Psychologist – Psychotherapist spoke on the issue during an event organized by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. He said that in the first half of 2019 there were 1,799 complaints filed, but only 117 arrests of animal abusers were made.
Penalties for offenders are now heavier. Animal abusers can pay fines of up to 30,000 euros, and serve prison sentences of up to five years.
Animal abuse means direct violence, torture, amputation, maltreatment, deprivation of fundamental freedoms, food and water deprivation and stress. Productive animals can also be abused, such as the case of the donkeys in Santorini.
Greeks are reluctant to file a complaint when they witness animal abuse incidents, animal rights defenders and police say. Experts attribute the phenomenon to the general feeling of impunity that exists in Greece.
However, as Drivas said, based on data from the Report Animal Abuse Greece website, 809 complaints were registered in 2014, while in 2018 the number jumped to 3,734. The number of people arrested nonetheless remains disproportionate to the number of complaints.