Lyn and Mark Purden have had a home on the Greek island of Aegina for many years, and it was in the late 1980s they actively started fundraising to help the animals on the island.
The charity was formally registered in the UK in October 2002 and has since expanded considerably and has supported animal welfare groups all over Greece. It is estimated that there is more than a million stray dogs in Greece and the number of cats is significantly higher. For this reason it is vital that we continue our work with sterilisation programmes and funding to support shelters in Greece, the lucky few find homes in the UK.
There is no single body in Greece that accepts responsibility for animal welfare, it is very fragmented and, in most areas, non-existent. We are proud to say that no representative of our charity receives any remuneration whatsoever for their work. Everyone works as a volunteer and our overheads are kept to a minimum. This ensures that all donations are used for the purpose for which they are intended, to benefit the animals.
What we do
Our mission statement is ‘To help provide food, shelter and veterinary care to stray and unwanted cats and dogs in Greece.’
At the beginning of 2012, there was an estimated 600,000 stray dogs in Greece and the number of cats must have been significantly higher. Our achievements are only possible with the necessary funding and that is where we need your help. Remember, we are all volunteers as no one within the charity receives any remuneration so the money you give is spent where it is most needed. If you would like your donation to be used for a specific purpose then please let us know.
Most stray cats and dogs in Greece have a very short and miserable existence. And although there are animal welfare laws, they are seldom, if ever, enforced, and therefore there are thousands of stray, sick, and injured animals with no access to things we take for granted in Britain:
- Food and Water
- Routine Vaccination
- Preventative treatments against diseases spread by parasites
Food & Water
During the tourist season many survive thanks to the tourists, who feel sad at their plight, and feed them scraps. Most tavernas have throngs of stray cats and dogs begging for their existence, but when the tourists leave there is no food supply, and so they die of starvation and disease.
Those that do survive they frequently poisoned – just a normal way of life to so many Greeks, even though this is illegal practice.
Cats and kittens – there are many that also live a cruel and hard life on the streets. Some of the volunteers on the islands have set up feeding stations and leave fresh food and water for the cats whose only other option is to scavenge the bins.
180 dogs in a shelter in Thassos only had out of date crisps to eat as there was no money left to buy them food.
How do you get rid of your rubbish? Dump it outside for the dustman? Take it to the tip? In Greece that’s how many people get rid of their unwanted animals. We actually have photos of puppies left on a rubbish tip, and of dumped kittens discarded with the kitchen waste, and another in a flower pot. If you’re interested in giving a home to a dog or cat, please visit our Adopt page.
The stray cats and dogs need protection from the summer heat and the cold winters. You can buy a kennel for around £90 – you can see what a difference they make. One of the shelters we support was in desperate need of some new kennels so we replaced 20 of them. If anyone would like to buy any more for them please contact us.
There is no sterilization programme, which would improve the situation greatly, but there is no interest in the welfare of animals, either from the authorities, nor from the Greek public. This results in a constant flow of kittens and puppies to replace the dying adult population, and so the sad cycle starts again, year in, year out.
You can pay for a cat or dog to be spayed and prevent kittens and puppies being born into a short life of pure misery. It costs around £100 for a bitch spay and £35 for a cat spay. Every year, we arrange for vets to sterilise around 500 stray animals and carry out numerous other surgical procedures to relieve unnecessary suffering. It is vital that we continue our work with sterilisation programmes and funding to support shelters in Greece, the lucky few find homes in the UK. Interested in giving a home to a dog or cat? Visit our Adopt page.
Veterinary Care – vaccinations & preventative treatments
The lack of vaccinations means that Parvovirus and cat flu are very common, and parasite born diseases such as Leishmanisis and Ehrlrichia are prevalent – all being potentially lethal illnesses, especially in sick and starving animals. Animals suffering with any of these conditions will rarely be offered any veterinary care, as few people bother to help them. The results are truly shocking. The dog in these parasites photos needed 3 treatments with Bravecto, which is £20 per treatment (total £60 to help this dog).
Monthly sponsorship can really help pay for these treatments and makes such a difference to how the animals feel. For the equivalent of around £1 a week you can sponsor the strays and receive a special gift pack in return. Please see our Sponsorship page for more information.
Animal welfare groups in Greece
Even dogs which have owners are not treated as family pets, as in most of Europe. There are thousands of dogs kept on short chains with no access to shelter. The lucky ones have food and water but otherwise their existence is miserable. It is difficult for us in Britain to understand why people would own a dog, just to leave it chained up, and how living animals can be treated with such indifference or cruelty.
Thankfully, there are some animal welfare groups trying to alleviate the suffering. The situation has been described as ‘trying to empty an ocean with a teaspoon’, but we believe that every animal spared such suffering is worth the effort.
Hopefully, in time, the Greek attitude towards animal welfare will improve, but in the meantime, we shall continue with our efforts. YOU can help us in any number of ways, both big and small. Please see our How to Help page.
We are proud to say that no representative of our charity receives any remuneration whatsoever for their work. Everyone works as a volunteer and our overheads are kept to a minimum. This ensures that all donations are used for the purpose for which they are intended, to benefit the animals.
PLEASE SUPPORT US AS WE CAN’T DO THIS ALONE!
Why adopt a dog from Greece?
Occasionally, we receive negative criticism from people who believe that we should not be supporting animal welfare abroad. In such cases, we explain that our view is that animal welfare should have no boundaries, after all, an animal in need is just that. Most of our supporters are passionate about the subject and really embrace the work that we do.
There are hundreds of fantastic organisations, charities and individuals who do amazing work with the animals in the UK. Although there is unnecessary abuse here, the level is nowhere near that of many other countries. Lyn, the Founder of the charity, has a personal connection to Greece and, having worked with the Greek strays for around 30 years, she is well qualified to confirm this as previously she was a volunteer for a national welfare organisation in the UK.
The level of cruelty, neglect and abuse in Greece is shocking and it is ‘the norm’ that animals be treated in such a way. Therefore, she decided to try and do something about it and, fortunately, the charity has a good following of supporters who share her view.
Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion but sometimes people speak detrimentally of our work when they haven’t even visited Greece and can’t possibly understand the situation unless they have witnessed it first hand. We have made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of animals and we shall continue to do so.
Please consider adopting a Greek dog to bring them out of the extremely cruel and miserable conditions, and at the same time free a space for another to be rescued.