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Slow Death of Donkey Puts a Spotlight on Animal Abuse in Greece

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A donkey met “a slow and torturous death” at Koropi, east of Athens. Credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis,  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

The issue of animal abuse in Greece resurfaced after authorities imposed a €30,000 ($30,060) fine on a 75-year-old man after his donkey, tied with a rope, got tangled and died.

“This is the first time that the prosecutor’s office has described this heinous act, the slow and torturous death of an equine as a result of a heavy form of passive abuse, as a felony,” the Hellenic Donkey Center, a non-profit, said in a statement.

The man had been accused of tying the donkey to a tree in a field in Koropi, east of Athens, where it died after becoming entangled. There are no further details on how long it was left there, but the incident was reported to the police, who arrested him.

Two other donkeys owned by the same man and found similarly tied to trees and suffering were surrendered to the Hellenic Donkey Center.

The tragic incident follows the case of a baby donkey that was left abandoned in the same area in January.

The foal was found wandering alone in a field. Animal rights campaigners raised the issue on social media and a home was found at a donkey protection center.

The center uploaded a video of the foal running around at the premises and meeting other donkeys. The center says it was fed milk from a bottle, but is gradually gaining strength.

Donkeys are still used in Greece

Donkeys are still used in Greece as a means of transportation, especially in villages or some of the more out-of-reach places.

For the most part, however, modern technology has ended the country’s dependence on these creatures. However, riding a donkey is still looked upon as a traditional way to get around, especially in some parts of Greece.

International campaigns have been launched to protect the donkeys and mules of the picturesque Greek island of Santorini. The animals have been used since time immemorial to shuttle people from the volcanic island’s port to its main settlement 400 meters above sea level.

Police training to deal with animal abuse

Hellenic Police officers across the country will begin mandatory training in animal rights issues as of Wednesday, it was announced on Tuesday.

At least one police officer per police station will acquire the knowledge and skills to deal with cases related to animal abuse, be they strays, home pets, working or game animals, exotic species or other, noted the police.

Regarding the number of violations of animal protection legislation in the first four months of 2023, Citizen Protection Minister Takis Theodorikakos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency that 705 cases were drawn up, 138 people were arrested, and 659 fines totaling 3,317,800 euros were imposed.

The task of training the officers has been undertaken by the instructors of Zero Stray Academy and the Zero Stray Pawject organization at no cost to the Greek state, in collaboration with the Hellenic Police’s education and continuing education directorates.

RelatedThe Donkeys and Mules that Built Greece’s Paradise in Santorini

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