Draft law on strays revised

Presenting a revised version of a draft bill on pets and strays, the government yesterday backtracked from initial plans to impose registration fees on most dog-owners. Announced in December, the annual fee, which the Agriculture Ministry had promised would be «almost symbolic» was criticized by animal welfare groups that said it would encourage irresponsible dog-owners to abandon their pets, adding to Greece’s considerable stray problem. But under the bill to be tabled in Parliament next week, dog-owners will still have to officially register and tag their animals before they become four months old. People who fail to do so, abandon their dogs, fail to keep them on a leash outdoors, or do not clean up their animals’ droppings will be fined 300-1,500 euros. The fines will be paid to local authorities, which will also be responsible for collecting strays and taking them to dog shelters to be vaccinated, treated for disease and neutered. Dogs deemed a threat to humans or to other animals (aggressive or with dangerous diseases), incurably ill or incapacitated by age will be put down.

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