Sunday September 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
27o C
19o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Protection groups warn of rising popularity of dogfighting

By Costas Onishenko

Some 200 abused pitbulls picked up in various areas around Attica in the past few years that are believed to have been used in illegal dogfights have found shelter with the Pitbull Rescue group. Among the areas where the group found injured and abandoned dogs were Keratea, Lavrio, Megara, Anavyssos, Sounio and Aspropyrgos, raising suspicions that dogfights are being organized in the vicinity.

Animal rights groups suggest that dogfights are also being held in wooded areas in and around Athens, though no arrests have been made to back up their suspicions, while the cases that do make it to court are few and far between, despite overwhelming evidence that this illegal blood sport and betting “game” is gaining popularity.

Earlier this month police in Katerini, northern Greece, managed to arrest 17 people during a raid on a stable where a dogfight was taking place. Of the people arrested, 13 were found guilty and given short jail sentences and ordered to pay fines. Police conducted the raid following a tip-off from an anonymous caller who provided officers with details of the dogfight. Following the call, the local police chief put together a team of 10 officers and raided the stable, where they found at least 50 spectators, who ran off into the adjoining fields when the team of officers burst into the venue. Eventually 17 people were placed under arrest, among whom were seven from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Officers also found that six dogs were being used in the fights, two of which were in the arena at the time of the raid. Another dog was found dead and based on its injuries is believed to have fought previously.

The 13 suspects who were eventually charged were given prison sentences of between two and eight months, suspended for three years, and ordered to pay fines of 2,000-5,000 euros.

“Despite the short sentences and small fines, this was a very positive development because it shows that the authorities are starting to do something about the problem. I hope that this case will raise awareness among citizens and encourage people to report cases of animal abuse or suspicions that dogfights are being conducted. They can contact the police as well as local animal protection groups,” Antonia Natsiopoulou, a member of a group protecting strays in Katerini, told Kathimerini.

According to police sources, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence suggesting that dogfights are on the increase, though it is almost impossible to confirm suspicions and follow up on allegations.

“We don't have any concrete evidence in our hands,” said an officer at Athens Police Headquarters who declined to be named. “Possibly because most are small-scale dogfights organized more or less with little planning between people who know each other, people who get together in small, tight-knit groups. If dogfights were being organized on a bigger scale and the bets were sizable, then we would certainly know a lot more.”

The City of Athens department that is responsible for animal welfare also asserts that it has no information regarding dogfights being carried out in the municipality, nor has it rescued dogs that have been clearly injured in a fight.

However, animal rights groups say that the evidence they have points in the opposite direction.

“We can't do the job of the police, but the indications we have suggest that dogfights are certainly taking place,” according to Marina Lymberopoulou of Pitbull Rescue.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday March 13, 2013 (18:37)  
Mayor’s efforts pay off as Turkish and Israeli visitors flock to discover their ‘own’ Thessaloniki
The mediators of Crete´s warring families
First middleman-free indoor organic market in Greece offers big savings
Targeted due to their sexuality
A Maria Callas house and opera academy
The historic but long-neglected building at 61 Patission Street in central Athens where opera legend Maria Callas lived from 1940 to 1945 before she left for the United States is set to unde...
ARCHITECTURE
Lakki, architectural gem on island of Leros, finally gets due attention
It's 2009. Italian architect and photographer Daniele Ratti is traveling in Eritrea, Eastern Africa. After reaching the country's capital, Asmara, Ratti is in for a surprise, as he finds him...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Results of probe into 20 Lagarde list names due soon
2. Police refute reports of Jihadi training
3. Gov’t drafts plan to secure exit from memorandum
4. Greek commuters have relatively long wait
5. IKA uncovers benefits scam at Kerameikos branch
6. Man dies in well accident
more news
Today
This Week
1. ‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
2. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
3. Results of probe into 20 Lagarde list names due soon
4. Police refute reports of Jihadi training
5. Gov’t drafts plan to secure exit from memorandum
6. Special guard arrested over extortion, bribery
Today
This Week
1. Greece on standby
2. Greece at bottom of social justice scale among EU28
3. Central Athens traffic restrictions back in force on Monday
4. Lost in the fog
5. ‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
6. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.