On March 21, 2013, members of the association Filozoiki Merimna Amorgou were informed that a dog trapped in yellow plastic cage had been abandoned on the side of the road near Chora, the seat of the Amorgos’ Municipal Government. The cage, was so small (30 cm high) that the dog could not stand upright and was forced to lie in its own feces.
Despite the objections of a police officer who claimed the dog was to remain where it had been found and actually returned to its owner (when found), the FMA volunteers rescued the dog. Later, when the dog's owner was located, he claimed that he had left the dog next to the car of a friend, while he went on an errand, and that the reason the dog was in the cage was to protect it from other animals. His claims and threats, as well as those of the policemen were ignored and the dog was brought it to the AZI Center in Pera Raxidi.
Removed from the cage the dog, a female, was entrusted to the care of a veterinarian. Her conditions were indeed deplorable. The dog was found to have low hematocrit (signs of anemia), poor nutritional status, dehydration, intense ectoparasite load with innumerable ticks throughout her body, mild leukocytosis (evidence of inflammation), and she tested positive for ehrlichiosis. She did not have a microchip and had not been vaccinated.
At the center, the dog, who was given the name of Liza, was treated with competence and care. She was vaccinated and micro-chipped and is now a healthy, friendly, and grateful animal.
The police officer not only did not follow law 4039/2012 and the orders from his employer, the Hellenic Police Department, as well as the recent circular of the Association of Greek Prosecutors, but, against all evidence, tried to convince the members of Filozoiki Merimna Amorgou that the dog's conditions were perhaps not ideal, but definitely acceptable.
Liza’s is one of the many instances of the cruelty against animals which the volunteers of the Filozoiki Merimna Amorgou are determined to vanquish. She was fortunate to be rescued from the hands of her oppressor, but clearly many are the people who do not have any idea of what it means to treat an animal in a manner that could be defined as both humane and civilized.
Liza’s owner was formally charged and on November 27, 2013, a trial was held in the three-member Misdemeanor Court of Naxos. He was convicted and sentenced to a 1 year imprisonment (the sentence was suspended, as it is customary for a first time offender) and to pay a fine of 5,000 euros. The court also ruled out the owner’s request to regain possession of the animal. Liza was assigned to the Filozoiki Merimna Amorgou and the dog will live at the AZI's center until a suitable home is found for her.
The defendant has appealed the decision and a new trial will be held in the courts of Syros. The sentence and the fine may be reduced, but the ownership of the dog has been denied once and for all. Liza will never have to face her torturer again.
It is a first, very significant victory, for all the good people of Amorgos who aspire to see their island freed from the insane and useless brutality of a handful of ill-mannered, arrogant and backward looking individuals, still strutting among them, as well as from the lethargic laissez-faire attitude of conniving public officers.