Not only is the state unable and unwilling to come to the aid of an animal but neither are individuals willing to stand up to the abuse inflicted upon animals by their fellow countrymen. Until the individual starts to lead by example, there will be no change. It is the usual scenario: dog tied up in the blazing sun, water bowl empty, nobody anywhere seeming to care and certainly not doing anything. And you think to yourself, «If I don’t, nobody will and another creature will die a slow and cruel death.» When an animal is dying, it is no good being told to come back next week when the local council will have received the correct piece of paper. I visited the local vet who has helped me in the past, and was told he could do nothing. I phoned the police but they laughed. So I phoned the Ministry of Agriculture – the department supposedly for small animals. No luck. My last resort was the Animal Welfare Society. You may wonder why I didn’t ring them first, but I have tried before and they have done nothing. A helpful woman has promised to act. They had better be quick though – the dog is fading fast. Animal welfare has improved over the past five years in Greece, but just because more pets are privately owned, it does not mean to say the suffering of other peoples’ animals, or strays, can be ignored. There are new EU guidelines for the protection of animals, and Greece must adhere to these. Next time you see an animal in distress, ask yourself if you are being a responsible citizen when you turn your head and walk the other way. PHILIPPA J. THEOPHANIDIS, Athens. In reference to your features concerning the rising temperatures of 43C (109F). It would be nice if they advised pet owners to proceed with the same amount of caution for their pets as for themselves during the heat. As for the thousands of street cats and dogs, everyone should become good Samaritans and make sure they are given fresh water and food. Greeks provoked this overpopulation of strays, so they should be responsible. CYNTHIA GEORGANDIS, Groton, Connecticut, USA.