Loutraki, Greece, is famous for its beautiful natural springs and therapeutic spas. However, despite its great appeal in many ways, it is the site of a devastating scene, a place that houses more than one hundred “landfill dogs” who are living in deplorable conditions.
Greece’s financial crisis of the past decade brought with it many problems, including, tragically, the abandonment of pets. Many people during this years left their dogs in the street because they could not afford to keep them, greatly increasing the population of stray animals in the country.
The landfill is a perfect example of this unfortunate situation in so many ways. Of course, adding to the problem is the fact that the poor animals have of course not been neutered, increasing their population and making their control all the more difficult.
The authorities at this point have not done much about this ongoing problem — leaving these animals abandoned to their fate. Many are born under these conditions to find themselves with a harsh reality, and dying without even having the opportunity to ever live in a proper setting with a human family to love and care for them.
It is estimated that about one hundred and thirty dogs live in the landfill. They are surrounded by piles of garbage as they rummage around there in search of food.
They drink water from puddles that are full of dirt, which can of course harm them and cause their health to deteriorate even further. The dogs are even now seen roaming around the landfill in these tragic conditions like something out of the third world; sick, with most malnourished, and some on the brink of death.
Aphrodite Tsoulaka and her beloved Loutraki Landfill Dogs
Fortunately, there are good-hearted people willing to provide help to these helpless animals. Aphrodite Tsoulaka, the Greek volunteer who has taken on the mammoth task of helping the dogs at the landfill, does not expect anything in return other than the gratification of seeing them living in better conditions.
On her own — without any support from the government — she manages to feed, vaccinate, neuter and treat all the animals that she can.
It is a difficult task. In 2018, Tsoulaka moved to the vicinity of the Loutraki landfill. Looking for an accessible and comfortable accommodation while she was enjoying the beautiful surrounding forests she came upon this unfortunate scenario — which ended up changing her life completely.
Since then her life’s work has been to care for the animals, managing their care and providing love to them.
Tsoulaka has donated approximately twenty-two thousand euros to the welfare of the landfill dogs since she discovered them. The veterinary treatments for each dog are different and can be very expensive, and of course each dog can have different diseases; for example a Leishmania (Milteforan) treatment in Greece costs two hundred euros. Some medicines must even be imported, such as Glukantim, which is ordered from Spain or Italy.
Normally the cost of taking care of a dog with Leishmania can vary between one thousand and two thousand euros.
“If we rescue female dogs there’s always a chance we stumble on gynecological issues,” adds Tsoulaka.
There are also additional costs to be taken into account as well, such as traps, which cost two hundred and fifty euros, a large transport box (one hundred euros) a trailer to transport the trap to the vet (five hundred euros) and large cages to keep wild dogs apart (one thousand euros).
Other additional costs added to each health care regimen include blood tests and flea and antiparisitic treatments.
Unfortunately there isn’t adequate space and accommodation for every dog as of now.
Tsoulaka’s dream would be to get them all out of the landfill, of course; but for this she needs land that can serves as a refuge where she can provide the dogs with the necessary care and food while offering them the opportunity to have a family through adoption.
Tsoulaka created her own Facebook page devoted to these animals, on which she provides information about her cause and shows photos of the dogs she has rescued.
Those who wish can also make donations through her page or the following contact: Katerina Stratigaki [email protected]