Officials deny stray slaughter

Athens 2004 officials and the capital’s municipal council yesterday rejected claims by an animal welfare watchdog that 3,000 dogs have disappeared this year under a systematic campaign to rid the city of its strays. «[Such assertions] have nothing to do with the truth and constitute an affront to our intelligence,» the 2004 organising committee said in a statement. It added that 62 strays were picked up in Markopoulo, Hellenikon and Schinias during the August Olympic test events. «These animals were photographed, sterilized, treated and returned to their environment,» the statement said. The City of Athens also denied the claims, presented during a press conference yesterday by the Citizens’ Initiative Committee. The watchdog said its figures were based on complaints from all over Athens. On Saturday, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni will present a 1.8 million euro program for the protection of the city’s strays, during a fair on the occasion of World Animal Day in central Klafthmonos Square.

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