UPDATE 30/4/20 : As of 4th of May, volunteers no longer need special permits to leave their homes to care for stray cats and dogs. They are also now free to travel within the limits of their prefecture (“nomos”).
COVID 19: PERMIT FOR FEEDING STRAY ANIMALS
While Greece is in lockdown, people need a certificate if they leave their homes for any reason. GAWF / Animal Action Greece is doing what it can to respond to animal welfare emergencies, including lobbying successfully to ensure official permits for people to go out and feed stray animals!
For now town halls across the country issue special permits to volunteers that have to leave their homes to care for stray cats and dogs they regularly feed. However, these permits only apply to people that feed stray animals within the municipality’s geographical limits!
Here you can find the permit translated in English. Please note that this is only meant to be used as a guide to understand the form in Greek, as an English one won’t be accepted as valid by the authorities. You need to then fill in the Greek form to get approved. Here you can find the Greek form.
We are still waiting to hear from the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Civil Protection to URGENTLY extend the permit permissions to include volunteers maintaining small dog shelters, or looking after animals some distance from their homes. We will keep you updated!
This is an unprecedented time in our history. The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on the health of our families, the businesses we rely upon, the health of the global economy, and the way we live our daily lives.
GAWF CALLS FOR ACTION TO STOP PET ABANDONMENT DUE TO COVID-19
In any crisis fake news and misinformation act to make matters worse and the COVID-19 emergency is no exception. Fear is not a good counsellor. Greek media are reporting an increase in the number of pet animals being abandoned by their owners as people seek to protect themselves from becoming infected. While loss of income may be one of the reasons for this, it seems, in spite of the official advice, that a proportion of the Greek population still believes it could catch the virus from contact with a cat or dog, and innocent animals are paying the price.
GAWF/Animal Action has issued its own message on its Greek language (Animal Action) Facebook page that:
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT PETS CAN TRANSMIT THE VIRUS TO HUMANS
We have made an urgent request to the municipality of Central Athens to do the same and have been assured this will happen shortly.
Meanwhile, we urge the whole welfare community to keep repeating the correct information in the hope that we can help prevent the betrayal of trusting animals by their fearful owners.
THE GREEK GOVERNMENT ACTS TO SUPPORT STRAYS THROUGH THE COVID-19 CRISIS
UPDATE: As of April 17, the Ministry of Interior sent an e-mail to all 245 Town Halls informing them that the funds are available through the Deposit and Loans Fund. All they have to do for the money to be disbursed is to create a new budget code so that the amount is recorded in their budget. ALL TOWNS HALLS SHOULD BE PUSHED TO ACT! THE FUNDS ARE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE!
In a positive move that breaks new ground, the Greek government has announced emergency funding available to all of its 334 municipalities nationwide specifically to cover the immediate, crisis-driven needs of stray animals. 👏
245 Town Halls will receive between 1,000 and 20,000 euros each, depending on the size of their local (human) population. This money is ring-fenced and cannot be used for any other purpose than the provision of food and/or medical treatment to local strays.
The remaining 89 Town Halls, which fall into a special category of ‘mountainous areas’ and ‘small island communities’, have been dealt with differently. For them, the grant from Central Government is more general, and each may decide how to use it. Caring for stray animals is just one of their options.
We are publicising this new funding via our Greek language social media and urging welfare groups to press their local officials – particularly in the locations where they are free to exercise their discretion – to act quickly to use the money for the benefit of their animals, as, due to the lockdown that is still in place (and due to remain so until at least the 27th of April) there are now many strays whose usual sources of nourishment have all but dried up. Some were totally dependent on hotel, restaurant and taverna owners, and these are all closed.
At least for the next few weeks no local authority will be able to avoid its legal responsibilities by claiming that it does not have the resources to address the needs of its stray animals!
Below are two links that list all the municipalities together with the amount of the grant each has been allocated. They are in Greek, so contact us if you need help finding the one(s) that is/are of interest to you.