August 2009 - Though much fewer in number than cats, dogs do not lead a healthier or happier life in Amorgos. Several dogs are kept tethered to a tree or post, completely isolated in very remote areas of the island, subject to mudslides, with no food, water or shelter. Their masters misuse them as shepherd dogs and believe that a mistreated dog responds more efficiently to their needs. They have no idea that properly trained sheep dogs do exist and can perform their duties routinely without having to be tortured and kept isolated. Eight of them, semi-abandoned by their masters, are cared for by Lamia, a very active volunteer. She visits them daily and gives them food and water. Animal Zone has provided wooden dog houses so the animals can have shelter from the weather which can become quite severe in the winter months. But upon visiting them and observing the unhealthy conditions in which they live, it is clear that much more needs to be done.
Let’s take a look at the life of the dogs under AZI’s care. There are some little lights visible in the dark, one only has to make quite an effort to see them and evaluate them. For instance:
The manager of the municipal camping where, thanks to the mayor, we have set up houses for the stray dogs Koutcho and Fovitziari, complained at the beginning of the tourist season about the presence of the dogs. He claimed that they barked so much that the camping guests could not sleep. Luckily, the mayor was not so easily convinced and replied that he would handle any complaint that would come from the camping guests themselves and no sooner. So our two dogs are still living their happy camping-life and even enjoyed some extra attention and/or food from camping guests. Fovitziari, the frightened one, definitely has gained more confidence and courage.
Where most passers-by (in their car or on their motorbike) enjoy the beautiful Amorgian landscape without a second thought for the chained dogs in the view, Vicky, a Greek woman from Athens, while enjoying her holiday on Amorgos, decided to file an official complaint about the situation of those poor dogs she saw chained-up along the road. She had done the same on the island of Karpathos and that case will be brought to court there soon, we hope (after three years!). However, within 2 days after the complaint was made, the dogs disappeared from their place and were found in a dirty, barren and desolated field, where the shepherd who owns the dogs often ‘parks’ a dog he doesn’t use for a while. Two out of the four dogs there did not have any shade and were forced to endure the burning August sun. When we saw the situation, we improvised some protection for them with some crates and pallets. They could hardly wait until we were finished to crawl into their shady spots.