Discussion on the Animal Welfare Bill continues despite objections

Debates continued this week in the Greek parliament on a new pet and animal rights bill that was brought up for public comment last week.

Legislation criminalizing animal cruelty and introducing a comprehensive surveillance system is part of the government’s efforts to limit the spread of stray animals through mandatory neutering.

According to the definition in the draft law, the competent authorities for the care, collection and maintenance of stray animals are the municipalities within which they are located. They are provided with funding, they must have shelters for stray dogs and cats, the characteristics of which are also clearly defined.

The bill also stipulates that every animal that is admitted to the shelter must be registered in the register of animals and owners. At the same time, a list of complaints is created, as well as a register of offenders, which will register those convicted of violating the provisions of the law and excluded from the possibility of “adopting” an animal for at least ten years.

Overall responsibility for the implementation of the pet policy, coordination and supervision of the system is now transferred from the Ministry of Rural Development to the Ministry of the Interior and, in particular, to the Department of Pet Protection of the Directorate for Organization and Operation of Local Government.

The bill provides for very high administrative fines for cruelty to animals, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 euros. The offense is now becoming a criminal offense, while the fines for keeping newborn dogs and cats are the same. The fines are the revenue of the municipalities and are intended solely to cover the costs of shelters and municipal veterinary clinics.

Critics of the bill mainly pay attention to the provision on mandatory sterilization of dominant animals, claiming their right to reproduce. Article 5 of the bill, which concerns owners’ obligations, received 1,082 comments out of 3008 yesterday afternoon.

It is worth noting that at the moment it is impossible to accurately estimate the number of stray dogs, however, animal protection organizations, including sterilizing stray dogs, note that more than 1 million dogs are on the streets, and the authorities have no idea about the number of stray cats. estimating their number from 2 to 3 million.

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