The government is presenting a bill for the homeless, the main points of which you can read below – Abandonment of newborn animals is a felony
Almost one in two households in Greece have at least one pet, while at the same time our country has, unfortunately, one of the largest populations of stray animals in the urban fabric and in the periphery. The responsibility of the local government, the establishment of an expanded national register of pets, the immediate provision of the necessary resources, strict control and accountability, the support of the sensitized forces of society, the responsibility of the owner – guardian and the legal shield with more severe punishments, are just some of the pillars of regulation and innovation introduced by the animal welfare bill and the strengthening of the culture of animal welfare.
As for the new law
The draft law brings a new philosophy for the care of the dominant and a comprehensive program for the management of stray pets and, Especially, of dogs and cats.
The main axes
• Municipalities remain responsible for stray pets, but now acquire the necessary resources to manage them
• Significant financial and logistical support of the municipalities for sterilization and hosting of stray animals
• The key role of animal welfare organizations in the care of stray animals is recognized and the possibility of strengthening them by the local authorities is foreseen.
• The National Register of Pet Animals is created, in which dogs and cats are recorded (dominant and homeless) and their medical history, animal welfare organizations, the shelters, the breeders, animals available for voluntary blood donation, as well as strays for adoption.
• Abandonment of newborn animals becomes a crime, with threatened punishment up to 10 chronic imprisonment. also, the shot, the voluntary injury with serious bodily injury, the frostbite, heat stroke, the electric shock, the battles between animals, bestiality, are now explicitly mentioned in the law as crimes, with the same penalty (to 10 years).
• Sterilization of all dogs and cats is provided, with a horizon of two years for the start of the implementation of the measure.
The municipalities of the country are responsible for the management of the program of dominant and stray animals. The Ministry of Interior, as responsible for self-government, takes on a central role and responsibility for pets, to achieve better coordination. Horizontal policies, on animal health issues and the protection of public health by zoonoses remain at the Ministry of Rural Development and Food. Besides, the transfer of the relevant responsibility was in the pre-election program of ND.
Obligation of municipalities to have a complete business plan for the management of stray animals. At the same time they are obliged to operate or be contracted with a shelter that operates legally in order to accommodate the pets there.. Municipalities are responsible for registration, marking and spaying all stray animals on their borders. The provision of the necessary equipment is financed through the new program "Argos" (such as stray collection vehicles) and to cover the costs of marking and sterilizing the homeless, as well as the creation of shelters, veterinary clinics, incinerators.
The state and the accountability of the municipalities
The state provides the necessary resources, facilitates the creation of new modern infrastructure and streamlines processes, so that no municipality has an excuse not to implement a comprehensive pet policy. Alongside, performance indicators are introduced for the first time, which are publicly posted so that there is the necessary accountability for the effectiveness of the program and the management of public money. For the first time the Interior Ministry may impose serious (and cash) penalties in those municipalities that do not implement effective pet management.
The role of animal lovers
In the context of the philosophy of the new law, animal welfare organizations can cooperate with municipalities, to mean and sterilize stray animals to veterinarians contracted with the municipality. Alternatively (including animal-friendly individuals), they can also go to veterinarians of their choice if they want to cover the costs themselves, even without an agreement with the municipality concerned. For the first time, animal welfare organizations are given the opportunity to collect and care for stray animals as their temporary owners, shielding their role and work. At the same time they can participate in the pan-Hellenic adoption platform, posting ads for the adoption of stray pets.
Sterilization and responsibility
A large number of stray animals come from unwanted litter of dominant animals. It is the obligation of the owner - guardian to take care of his sterilization. So, The bill provides for a transitional period of almost two years for the start of compulsory sterilization and an additional one year for the administrative sanctions imposed in case of failure. For the first time, municipalities can provide incentives for sterilization, which can be a reduction of household municipal fees for consistent pet owners but also the provision of vouchers for sterilization of vulnerable social groups.
To modern shelters
Additional operating rules are introduced, which they must observe, both primary, as well as non-municipal shelters. Each shelter maintains, obviously, its obligation to have appropriate facilities and a contracted veterinarian, while it must also have the necessary staff for the cleanliness and care of the animals, with 14 hours, at least presence daily. Visiting hours are mandatory so that the shelters are accessible to all, as well as the obligation to maintain an updated website, with all the information about the animals housed in them. Alongside, the shelter register ensures transparency and accountability for all (including municipalities) those who operate shelters.
Stricter penalties for abuse
The killing and torture of an animal are already serious criminal offenses and they have, except criminal, and large administrative penalties. After all, this government committed the crime of killing and torturing the animal (law 4745/2020). With this bill, Abandonment of a newborn animal also becomes a crime. The threatened penalties for these violations, is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of up to 50.000 euro, while at the same time, an administrative sanction is also provided, that is, a fine from 30.000 to 50.000 euros per animal and incident.
also, the mistreatment and cruel treatment of any kind of animal, such as the drastic restriction of its normal movement, the impermissible methods of education, the unforeseen work for the species of animal, illegal reproduction, the voluntary injury with simple bodily injury, are considered abuse and are punished, as well as abandonment, with imprisonment from 1 to 5 years and a fine of up to 18.000 euro, while, alongside, an administrative fine is also provided 30.000 euro.
The poisoning of the animal (nests) is part of the criminal offenses and carries a sentence of up to ten (10) years and a fine of up to 50.000 euro, while at the same time, also brings about an administrative sanction, that is, a fine from 30.000 to 50.000 euros per animal and incident.
Anyone convicted of pet abuse may not be designated as the owner or sponsor of a pet for a period of at least ten (10) years. Alongside, the same period, can not be employed, voluntarily or for a fee, in an object related to animals.
For the first time National Animal Register
In a very short time, through the National Register of Pet Animals (ΕΜΖΣ), we will know in real time the number of dominant and stray pets (dogs and cats), the number of homeless people managed by each municipality, the number of animals to be adopted and the health history of each animal. They are included in the National Register of Pet Animals:
· Pet Animal Registration and Monitoring Register. The set of dominant and stray dogs and cats, together with the details of their owner - guardian. Now the medical and clinical data of dogs and cats will be recorded in the register so that they are immediately accessible by the owner and by any veterinarian throughout the country if necessary.
· Register of Animal Welfare Associations and Organizations. All registered and legally operating animal welfare associations are registered in this register so that there is a clear public image of animal welfare associations., their contact details and the work they perform in cooperation with the municipalities. A prerequisite for participating in the stray management program and the adoption program is to register in this register..
· Register of Shelters in which all legally operating dog and cat shelters in the country are registered. Their exact location is registered there, contact details, their manager, as well as the hours of public visits. Municipalities can operate shelters, municipal associations, registered animal welfare associations and private animal lovers.
· Register of Breeders. For the first time, the legally operating breeders are fully registered, so that this public information is available to anyone who wants to buy a pet from a breeder, putting an end to the irregular trade in pets.
· Panhellenic Platform for the Adoption of Stray Pets. Perhaps the most important registry. In this, anyone who wants to adopt a stray dog or cat, anyone can choose from a legally operated shelter.
· Voluntary pet blood donation platform. Always based on the principles of veterinary science, This register is created in which pet owners who voluntarily wish to donate them for blood donation are declared..
· Training of security forces on animal welfare and animal welfare
· Special line and application for receiving complaints about animal abuse. These complaints are brought to the attention of the supervisory authorities.
Establishment and operation of fenced dog parks by the municipalities
· Provision of operation of dog cemeteries and cemeteries by the municipalities as well