Five Dogs Strangled Near Sitia, Crete

n40924485850_3286In my spare time I’m a trustee of the Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF), which works as the name suggests to “bring about significant and lasting improvement to the treatment and status of animals in Greece.” This involves supporting very localised projects through small grants to neutering street cats and dogs to performing dental work on donkeys. The charity is small and the work is massive, but we do what we can.

It seems to me, with the European elections imminent, that there is much more that the EU should be doing to promote animal welfare. In Greece, life for animals is often brutally short. For instance, we have recently heard about an incident of appalling cruelty that took place near the town of Sitia, in eastern Crete. 

On the 14th of May 2009 representatives of a local animal welfare group were called to a rural location outside the town where they witnessed the dreadful sight of four dogs hanging from one  tree and another from a tree just opposite.  All were already dead when they were found, and the vet that was called to the scene reported that all five had been slowly strangled – since it was clear that their back legs were in contact with the ground – so the animals would have been able to support part of their body weight for a period – perhaps for a number of hours. I make no apology for including this picture, which shows how the animals suffered.


The dogs strangled in Sitia

The dogs strangled in Sitia

This is not an uncommon occurrence. Dogs that are bred for hunting in Greece but fail to ‘make the grade’ are often killed in this way. 


The local police have already issued a summons against “persons unknown” and are investigating the incident.  The local welfare group and its President, Maria Papadaki, are very active in calling for any witnesses or individuals that have knowledge as to who was responsible to come forward.  

GAWF has communicated with the Mayor’s office in Sitia and urged Deputy Mayor, Mr Michalis Protogerakis, to follow up with the police and maintain the pressure on them to investigate properly and take action.  We want to see the perpetrators brought to justice.

Animal lovers wishing to add their voices to the protest may call the offices of the Municipality of  Sitia…   +30 28430 26346.  The Town Hall’s email address is  

It may be even more effective to send a fax to: +30 28430 24584 as faxes receive a protocol number as they come in and are therefore more carefully recorded.  The direct line to Mr Protogerakis’ office is +30 2843 340536.

Here are some links if you want to become a member of GAWF or donate to support our work. We also have a Facebook group.



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2 responses to “Five Dogs Strangled Near Sitia, Crete

  1. Dan

    Thank you for writing about this, Mark, and including those links. Those who work in Crete to help dogs, cats etc. have an Herculean task. As you will know, many of them are individuals who struggle to do what they can alone, and often actively opposed by their local government and communities. Anything that can be done to change official attitudes is helpful. We all hope for a time when such horrors as you describe here no longer happen in that beautiful place.

  2. Hi Mark, I’m trying to do something about the barrel-dogs in Greece. Why can’t GAWF do something about this long lasting horrific situation of those poor dogs. I am doiing a fundraising and a petition. I am planning to hand over my signatures in about a month from now. Is there anything you can helop me with maybe?

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