December 2015, Greek island of Paros - In aid of the association “PAWS"

The president of AUXAN had been anxious to help the cats in Greece for a long time. A Swiss resident had informed her of the difficulties faced by the association “PAWS” on the Greek island of Paros, relayed by the person’s mother who had lived there for some time. Eventually, on 5th December 2015, the Greek association received a visit from the president of AUXAN, who was at last able to meet the volunteers and, above all, see how they coped with their animals on a daily basis. The experiences of these local people enabled the president to evaluate animal conditions on Paros. The team is exclusively made up of volunteers, some of whom are Greek, but are mostly people from other European countries (England, Germany, etc.), who live on the island. Jennifer, the president, was much impressed by their conscientiousness and excellent organisation. One of them takes charge of feeding the 16 colonies of homeless cats on the island, whilst another is entirely devoted to the dog shelter. Thanks to a branch in Munich (Germany), “PAWS” manages to obtain the support of German volunteers and to rehome some of the luckier animals for good. The association is not short of ideas for raising funds, particularly during the holiday season when many tourists flock to the island. It proposes artwork (paintings on canvas or on stones, etc.) for sale, there are money boxes in banks, chemist’s shops, hotels, the airport, etc.), and the volunteers also have a gift shop in the town of Paroikia. Thanks to the dedication of the volunteers and the numerous campaigns in favour of sterilisation, the population of stray cats now seems to be under control. This helps relations with the local community since the cats are now fed and sterilised. The situation is more complicated when it comes to dogs however. “PAWS” has no land or shelter to house them, so is obliged to rent a piece of land from a farmer where the dogs most in need – 35 to 45 dogs and puppies - can be sheltered. The indifference of the local population towards the distress of the animals in no way helps the volunteers in their daily tasks. The installations are very basic, owing to the lack of funds. Moreover, the local people persistently demand that the shelter be installed elsewhere. At the beginning of 2016, many puppies died from a virus that was propagated within their pen due to inadequate hygiene (muddy ground).. As a result, “PAWS” is currently looking for a new location as well as the necessary funds (15,000 euros) to buy some land away from human habitations so as to avoid complaints from the locals who are fed up with barking dogs. By acquiring a suitable place, the association would be able to have its own refuge that it could organise in such a way as to shelter and care for the current and future occupants. It would also be able to make the necessary preparations for adoption (of dogs and cats, but also horses, donkeys and other livestock). Without a temporary place to welcome these animals at risk, many of them are condemned to either living or dying in unacceptable conditions..