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The Tragic Story of Greece’s Loutraki Landfill Dogs

the Loutraki Landfill’s Garbage Dogs
The Loutraki Landfill dogs in Greece. Credit: Loutraki Landfill Dogs

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 in Greece.

Greece’s financial crisis of the past decade brought with it many problems, including, tragically, the abandonment of pets. Many people during these years abandoned 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 in many ways a perfect example of this unfortunate situation. 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 to their fate. Many are born under these conditions to find themselves within 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 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 to this day seen roaming around the landfill in these tragic conditions like something out of a third world country— 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 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 live in better conditions.

On her own and 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 completely changed her life.

Her life’s work has since then been to care for the animals, manage their care, and love them.

landfill dogs
Tsoulaka feeding her landfill dogs in Greece. Credit:

Tsoulaka has donated approximately twenty-two thousand euros to the welfare of the landfill dogs since discovering them. Veterinary treatments for each dog are different and can be very expensive, and of course, each dog can have different ailments or medical needs. 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, 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 on top of usual health care regimens include blood tests and flea and antiparisitic treatments.

Unfortunately, there isn’t adequate space and accommodation for each dog as of now.

Tsoulaka’s dream would be to get them all out of the landfill, of course, but to accomplish this, she needs land that can serve 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

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