The mandatory sterilization and marking of all pets with specific motives, which are considered to be in the form of ordinances (vouchers) by the municipalities or to reach up to a 10% reduction of municipal fees is introduced by the bill, which will be presented to the minister Council on Wednesday 24 February.
All information converges on the fact that for the first time a bill on animals will be presented by the Ministry of Interior and not the Ministry of Rural Development, despite the reactions that have already been recorded on this issue by both veterinarians and the Geotechnical Chamber. Besides, the commitment for the transfer of responsibilities dates back to the pre-election period, when the current Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had announced that the responsibilities regarding pets would be transferred to the Ministry of Interior.
The draft law with the main axes of the new regulations was given shortly before the expiration of 2020 for comments to the services of the Ministry of Rural Development, which gave a negative opinion on most of its provisions, while the opinion of the two Veterinary Schools was opposite.
On the crucial issue of neutering, the draft law then given for opinion provided for the obligation of owners of dominant pets to neuter it if it is a dog or cat, within 3 months of its acquisition, if the animal is over one year old. . In case of acquisition of an animal under one year, sterilization is stipulated to be done within the first 3 months from the completion of the year.
In the case of a neutered animal , a fine of 1,000 euros is imposed and the owner is granted a three-month period to neuter. If the deadline expires without action, the fine is imposed again.
However, this regulation, as judged by the services of the ministry, is weakened immediately after the provision of a wide range of exceptions, which includes both amateur breeders and pet owners who want to reproduce the pet once in a lifetime. and who for this purpose receive permission from the Commission established by a decision of the Minister of the Interior.
Especially for pet owners who wish to reproduce their pet once, the permit is considered only if the owner has declared to the Commission the natural persons who will adopt 6 to 8 newborn animals, including themselves, also signing a solemn declaration. that they can meet the costs of raising and caring for the animals until they are adopted. Individuals who have been declared should not have declared for adoption for more than two applications.
Regarding the marking and registration of dogs and cats in the National Register of Pet Animals (EMZS), the draft stipulated that this must be done within two months of their birth.
In fact, in order to motivate the sterilization, marking and adoption of pets, the possibility is provided for the municipalities with a decision of the Municipal Council, to provide incentives, such as through ordinances (“voucher”), while they will be able to decide to reduce the municipal fees. per year up to a maximum of 10% for owners – natural persons of neutered, marked and registered in the EMZS “.
In the draft, although it is defined that the competent Authority for the establishment of animal welfare rules is the General Directorate of Veterinary Medicine of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, the role of veterinarians appears to … “shorten” in the individual provisions. Thus, not a single veterinarian is appointed as a member of the special remunerated Monitoring Committee of the provisions of the law. The Committee is expected to include a representative of the Central Union of Greek Municipalities, a representative of the Ombudsman as well as a representative of Animal Welfare Associations and Non-Profit Organizations, which operates at the national level.
Based on what is included in the draft law, it is also provided that:
- Each municipality or collaborating Municipalities or Association of Municipalities establishes and operates municipal or inter-municipal veterinary clinics, shelters and incinerators for stray pets in privately owned or leased or leased by the State, the Region or by private premises. Each Municipality must have at least one shelter either by itself or in cooperation with other Municipalities or as a Member of the Association of Municipalities, or to contract with legally licensed shelters, without however setting a specific timetable for the fulfillment of this obligation.
- A special financial program is established under the name “Argos” and aims to finance municipalities for the implementation of actions, the supply of necessary equipment and vehicles, the financing of shelters, vet clinics, incinerators and fenced dog parks, to cover the cost of contracts with etc. The program can be subsidized by special funding programs, from resources of the Ministry of Interior, while the credits of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food related to the financing of Municipalities for the management of stray animal programs are now transferred to the budget of the Ministry of Interior.
- The electronic database for marking and registration of pets is transferred from the Ministry of Rural Development to the Ministry of Digital Government.
- A Panhellenic Platform for the Adoption of Stray Pets is created, in which all stray animals for adoption will be registered with the name, photo, description, details of the person responsible for adoption, etc. All Municipalities, Animal Welfare Associations and Non-Profit Organizations, have to refer to the link of the electronic platform for the promotion of the adoption of stray animals on their websites or on their public pages on social media.
- The operation of the Register of Offenders is foreseen by the Athens Prosecutor’s Office, in which those who have a criminal conviction for violation of the provisions concerning the abuse of pets will be registered. This register will interact with the EMFC and the infringer’s registration in it will prevent the possibility of registering him as the owner of an animal in the EMFC.
- A new thematic cycle is established under the name “Animal Rights Cycle” to the Ombudsman, who is responsible for mediation on animal rights and compliance with legislation.
- It is possible to develop a digital application and website, as well as to define a relevant five-digit telephone number, for the reporting of cases of animal abuse, as well as any other relevant violation.
- At the School of Officers and at the School of Police of the Hellenic Police, as well as at the School of Port Guard Testing, training on animal abuse is included in the curriculum.
- The “contractor” for stray animals is instituted, which will concern the natural person who temporarily hosts a stray pet until it is adopted or admitted to a shelter. The contractor can be selected by the Municipality or animal welfare associations and non-profit organizations.
Harsh criticism from veterinarians D.Y.
“The draft law as a whole, with the exception of certain provisions, does not follow international and European standards for the management of the pet population described in the specific directives of the World Organization for Animal Health, has not taken into account current EU legislation and the European Convention for the Protection of Pets, which has been ratified by law “, said the opinion of the General Directorate of Veterinary Medicine to the former Minister of Rural Development and current Minister of Interior, Maki Voridis.
Veterinarians speak of contradictory provisions and provisions that contradict each other, noting that “it becomes clear that the editorial team did not include an animal welfare scientist because they adopt practices that are contrary to modern scientific views and literature, as well as an anthropologist.” . There was also no participation in the elaboration of the plan under consideration by the competent Veterinary Authorities who have the experience and the corresponding know-how “.
They point out that according to the directives, the role of NGOs is a role of contributing to the authorities at local level, but in the project under consideration “not only is this directive not complied with but responsibilities for managing stray animals in NGOs and individuals without control and supervision by the local veterinary and municipal authorities (as in force in law 4039/2012), while any supervision will be done with indefinite indicators that will be monitored by a three-member committee at the Ministry of Interior “.
As Vasiliki Zafeiropoulou, president of the Panhellenic Association of Veterinarians, points out to “ethnos.gr”, with this plan a special paid Three-member Monitoring Committee is set up by decision of the Minister of Interior, which does not refer to no competent authority and is not controlled: “This committee is given the responsibilities of a central competent authority, ie the responsibility to monitor the implementation of the provisions concerning the management of pets (dominant and not) and the power to propose proposals for amending the legislation. In essence, the plan we saw replaces the responsibilities of the central veterinary authorities of the country with the responsibilities of a Monitoring Committee, against European and international practice “, he underlines.
She adds that the draft law they saw avoids the central and local involvement of veterinary and public health services in overseeing the management of the stray pet population, despite general reports that they are competent authorities for the welfare of animals.
The presentation of the bill is awaited by the president of GEOTEE, Spyros Mamalis in order to be informed about the provisions. In any case, in a statement to “ethnos.gr” he clarifies that in a legislative regulation that concerns animals “it does not mean to be another ministry in a hurry except the Ministry of Rural Development”.
On the issue of the transfer of responsibilities under discussion, GEOTEE had already sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis a few months ago: .. The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) itself includes this in its guidelines. The very protection of the health of pets requires the subordination of these responsibilities to the veterinary services of the Ministry of Health, the only services in our country that have the scientific staff and the logistical infrastructure that can ensure the health and pet welfare.
In addition to the above, a series of programs concerning pets (anti-rabies protection, control of animal and human diseases, etc.) and implemented by Greece since 2012, are the subject of the veterinary service. Any attempt to remove the responsibilities under discussion from the Ministry of Regional Development. “It poses immediate risks to the health of pets and public health in general, and makes it extremely problematic to impossible for our country to comply with the relevant Community and international rules and directives,” the letter said