On Monday, police in Greece arrested a man who lured a cat near his table at a taverna and then kicked her into the sea in a shocking case of animal abuse.
The incident took place in a tavern of Aidipsos on the island of Evia on May 1st. It was caught on camera and was widely circulated on social media before police intervened to make the arrest.
The outrageous video shows at least two cats approaching the table. The perpetrator lures one of them with a fish and then kicks it. His friends are heard laughing as he tries to do the same with the second cat.
Reports say that the cat survived the abuse. A member of the local animal welfare society rushed to investigate the issue and told the animal welfare website zoosos.gr. the tavern owner had said the two cats belonged to him, assuring that both were fine and that he would help to find the abuser.
The abuser’s arrest was announced by Citizens Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos, who said in a Facebook post that “violence against animals is unacceptable.”
“The government has passed a strict law to protect animals from abuse which is now in place, but in any case, it is a matter of humanity and culture,” said Theodorikakos. “I am deeply saddened by those who mistreat animals and those who tolerate it. I heartily congratulate those who raised the issue. The case now rests with Greek justice.”
Caution: The following video contains scenes that may upset viewers
As the wave of outrage spread, the perpetrator, a young man, uploaded videos on social media slamming his critics claiming it was just a “joke.” He claimed that the cat fell “20 cm down on the pebbles.” He further claimed that he is an animal lover who takes care of dozens of stray cats and dogs.
Greece toughens penalties for animal abuse
Greece has toughened the law on animal abuse which is now punished as a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the new law will create rules so that no animal “will be abandoned or abused.”
“Greece is changing and is finally adopting a modern legal framework for the protection of pets,” Mitsotakis tweeted before the vote in Parliament in 2021.
Major provisions of the pet law in Greece
The new law stipulates that pet abuse will carry stricter fines and will now include acts such as abandonment, shooting, intentional injury, and poisoning.
Other provisions include:
- Records of people who have been sentenced for torturing animals will be entered into a database managed by the Athens prosecutor’s office and cross-referenced with the Pet Registry so that they may not register as pet owners in the future.
- A pet DNA analysis and storage bank is also being set up so that if an animal is abandoned, the owner can be easily located and penalized accordingly.
- The leading change brought along by the new bill is the new digital health book for all pets, which will include a full medical history and be accessible by both owners and veterinarians.
- Banning cat and dog sales at pet shops together with a ban on mating advertorials: the fine for publishing a mating ad will be more than trippled when not referencing the pet’s unique ID microchip number and the new reproduction license.
- The sale of pets will only be allowed by approved breeders and owners. Pet adoption fees will be forbidden except for transportation and medical treatment costs.
- New rules are introduced for breeding as well and owners will be licensed for one litter per pet while prospective owners of offspring will have to be officially registered.
- Neutering will become mandatory for all owners with some medical exceptions. Approved licensed breeders will be fined 2,000 euros if they mate a single animal more than six times. Amateur (so-called ‘back yard’) breeders will also be subjected to several new restrictive rules.
- Neutering should be done within six months of the pet’s acquisition if the animal is more than one year old. In case of acquisition of an animal less than one year old, neutering takes place within the first six months after the completion of the first year. This deadline may vary depending on the breed of the animal and other specific characteristics after a thorough recommendation by a veterinarian.
- Neutering is not mandatory for animals for which a sample of their genetic material (DNA) has been sent to the Laboratory for Conservation and Analysis of Pet Material Genetic Material.
- In case the animal owner does not sterilize his pet or does not send in a DNA sample, a fine of 1,000 euros will be imposed, and the owner will be given a three-month period to sterilize or send a sample of the animal’s genetic material. In the event that this deadline also passes without action, the fine will be imposed again.
- Finally, a new National Pet Registry will be introduced where all pets—regardless of whether owned or stray—will have to be registered, including pets put up for adoption. Animal welfare associations, vets, breeders, and animal shelters will all have to register, too.
In order to encourage owners to take better care of their pets, the bill introduces incentives by municipalities, such as a reduction in city taxes by up to 10 percent.