Panagis Kappatos (local MP) on the Bill for pets – “No stray animals, no abused animals”

Yesterday, September 15, I spoke in the Plenary Session of the Parliament about the Draft Law of the Ministry of Interior entitled: “New framework for the welfare of pets -” ARGOS “Program

In my speech I stressed the importance of the “ARGOS” program for an issue that has occupied our daily lives for decades.

framework for marking and recording stray and dominant animals is created and cooperation between the state, local government, scientists and animal welfare organizations is instituted to improve the life of pets.

Rules are being set up for the operation of the shelters and the definition of animal abuse is being clarified .

The animal adoption mechanism is facilitated and organized .

We are all grateful to the civil society organizations and our fellow citizens who for many years voluntarily cared for and rescued stray animals. In many cases, they saved the dignity of our society and made the citizens aware of the need for welfare of dominant and stray animals.

Panagis Kappatos

Member of Parliament for Kefalonia and Ithaca

Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I do not think anyone in this room can disagree that our treatment of animals, especially stray animals, is a sign of our culture. Hunger, thirst, fear and abandonment are not allowed in our conscience and our daily life to be accepted.

For this reason we owe the sincere respect to the work and efforts of animal welfare organizations that are active throughout Greece with the aim of mitigating the phenomena I described. At the same time, however, it is our obligation to provide the necessary institutional arsenal that protects animals, clarifies the obligations of municipalities and offers a modern framework that we so desperately need as a society.

An important parameter concerning the obligations of the municipalities towards stray dogs and cats arises from the draft law of the Ministry of Interior. A number of important innovations are introduced in order to achieve the required streamlining of procedures in the context of a holistic management by the Local Government. After all, it is the current draft law that confirms the responsibility of the municipalities for the registration, marking and sterilization of all stray animals that are on their borders, responsibilities for which they must set clear goals. For the first time, municipalities are called upon to draw up a business plan for the management of stray animals. This includes the provision of veterinary care, participation in the adoption platform and the creation of an incentive framework for hospitality.

However, in order to ensure the smooth implementation of the new institutional environment that we are building, it is necessary to guarantee its stable financing. With the “ARGOS” program, the municipalities are financed in order to implement their operational programs, ie the supply of the necessary equipment, to cover the cost of marking and sterilization of stray animals, as well as the creation of shelters and veterinary clinics.

Regarding animal welfare organizations, it is clear from the text of the bill that they cooperate with the municipalities within the framework of the philosophy of the new law. At the same time, with relevant settings we go one step further. For the first time, animal welfare organizations are given the opportunity to collect and care for stray animals as their temporary owners, shielding their role and work. At the same time, they can participate in the Panhellenic Adoption Platform, posting ads for the adoption of stray animals.

By the same token, animal-friendly individuals can benefit from municipal sterilization and labeling of stray animals. Their right to care for stray animals is explicitly provided for and to become their immediate contractors and owners, if they so wish, following a simple and clear procedure.

The same text establishes the possibility for the municipalities to provide animal feed and medicine to the animal welfare associations with which they cooperate. For the first time, in fact, legally operating animal welfare associations can be beneficiaries of financial support from the municipality or the region, just as is the case for other associations.

At this point I think it is worth mentioning the important regulations concerning municipal and non-municipal shelters. The bill we are voting on introduces strict operating rules, which must be observed by both municipal and non-municipal shelters. These are shelters operated by animal welfare associations, organizations and private animal lovers that maintain the obligation for proper facilities, contracted veterinarian and necessary staff for the cleaning and care of animals. Finally, there are mandatory visiting hours on weekdays and weekends, so that they are accessible to all, with the parallel obligation to maintain an updated website with all the necessary information about the animals that are hosted in the shelters.

I kept as my last report that of animal abuse. The draft law we are discussing clarifies the definition of abuse and details cases to avoid any doubt. It is practically provided that the killing and torture of animals with the intentional infliction of severe physical pain or exhaustion, poisoning, strangulation or non-therapeutic mutilation, as well as sexual abuse of an animal are serious offenses of a criminal nature, administrative sanctions. After all, it was the Government of New Democracy that turned the torture of the animal into a crime by law 4745/2020. Regarding the threatened sentences, for the murder is imprisonment up to ten years and a fine estimated at up to 50,000 euros,

The mistreatment and cruelty of any animal is considered abuse and is punished. It is a series of acts, such as the drastic restriction of his normal movement, the impermissible methods of training, the voluntary injury with simple bodily harm, as well as the abandonment. Regarding the latter, in order to reduce the phenomenon, a special procedure is established for any owner who wants to deliver his pet, with a mandatory prior posting on the Panhellenic Platform for the Adoption of Stray Animals, in collaboration with the municipality.

Ladies and gentlemen, I conclude my presentation as I started, by linking our behavior in stray animals and pets to our conscience and humanity. Who, after all, can disagree with the regulation that completely shields the municipalities and animal welfare organizations? Who can ignore the importance of provisions for the establishment and operation of fenced dog parks as well as cemeteries? It is our deep democratic responsibility to support, vote and implement the provisions of this bill.

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