The Garbage Dogs of Loutraki

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1990
Garbage dogs

This is the story of the “garbage dogs” and how it all began. Afrodith, a Greek rescue volunteer, and her dogs have to face an enormous struggle every day. 

Afrodith moved near the huge Loutraki landfill in 2018. Passing by the rubbish dump/landfill was a life-changing experience for her, seeing the horrendous conditions the dogs and puppies were living in. She found packs of dogs and puppies in terrible conditions with broken bones, sores all over their bodies, starving, thirsty and, sadly, some dead.

Soon, she began trying to take care of all the dogs she could find in the dump. She has no help from local authorities or from the government.

This dump is huge, and inside live about 130 dogs, among tons of garbage in the most adverse conditions. Countless puppies in a miserable state are born and die helplessly in there without a chance to live a full life. This is tragic. An endless cemetery of animals. Dogs drink water from dirty and dangerous puddles, they scavenge in the trash. 

Who’s going to go to a rubbish dump to take care of dogs there? Afrodith alone, a lady who has been doing incredible work for years to find a solution, who has dedicated her life to this.

A kindhearted and compassionate lady, Afrodith has captured, vaccinated, neutered and treated as many dogs as could be moved to the small plot of land she rents. She has no more space for the dogs left at the rubbish dump/landfill site.

garbage dogs

So, if a sick dog needs treatment today, she has no alternative but to try and capture the dog, put it in a crate and give it treatment. If very sick, they are taken to the vet’s for treatment then released back to the landfill – she has no other place to take the dogs.

Her dream would be to take all the dogs out of the landfill and give them the life they deserve, with a loving family.  To make her dream come true she needs a larger plot of land with shelter, to give as many dogs as possible a chance of a happy and healthy life with treatment, love and care – hopefully a foster or adoption as well.

Greece is a very well-known tourist destination, due to its natural beauty, archaeological sites and beautiful landscape. Every year, it attracts many tourists, both foreign and local. What many people do not know, that behind this beautiful façade, there is an estimated population of 3.5 million strays wandering in the streets throughout the country.

A lot of Greeks do not castrate their animals and now there are millions of stray dogs and cats. Most of them are street strays, starving, sick, in terrible condition and the government does nothing. So local Greek Volunteers try their best to alleviate this suffering. Many help but many look away and do not care.

Over the past few years Loutraki landfill has become the place for people to discard their rubbish as well as their pets. Irresponsible people, members of the local community dump their unwanted dogs in the landfill. Unfortunately, the same goes for people who do not live in the area.

These animals lead a tragic life. They are or they have become fearful, they are sick, wandering around, scavenging the garbage for food. Most importantly, they are not neutered so their numbers are increasing, the problem is then exacerbated. Due to the conditions they find themselves in, exposed to all weathers, having no medication for ticks, fleas and worms they fall ill.

Leishmaniasis, ehrlichiosis, mange, skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases are some of the most common diseases the garbage dogs are suffering from. These dogs and puppies are doomed to a life of misery and pain.

The Municipality of Loutraki is uninterested in the well-being of the dogs and no measures have been taken to alleviate the situation apart from providing four sacks of dry food per week. The dogs must be captured and neutered, treated for diseases and skin conditions. Food and proper shelter must be provided. 

In 2018 Afrodith created her Facebook page, The Loutraki Landfill Dogs, so that people could see her work trying to help alleviate the suffering of the poor dogs. The smallest donation will help. She is alone in helping the “garbage dogs”. She can barely make ends meet.

Her admirable and selfless work with the dogs has been recognised by a German charity; they send pallets of dry food to help. They are a lifeline for the garbage dogs. Click on the Facebook page and check out her work. Let’s help her if we can with a sack of food, a few medicines, fostering, adoptions, lots of shares on social media.

This is a guest post by Katerina Stratigaki and Julie Scourfield. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

3 COMMENTS

  1. MOST Greeks will not neuter their dogs, cats so the resultant tiny newborn pups/kits are shoved in carrier bags in the rubbish. ALL the time. It is appalling IN Greece and their islands. They said 30 years ago that it was improving. It is getting worse. Greeks from Athens use the Loutraki and Aspropygos tips to dump unwanted animals. A lot of municipalities put down poison and then send early morning trucks to pick up the dead animals of all sorts including owned ones. before tourists see the agonisingly dead dogs, cats so the Greeks can say “we have no problem with strays here”! The few Municipal “shelters” are hell holes! The municipalities are supposed to care for strays, but few places even get a bag or two of food a month. Most locals also want to close any rescue shelters, and frequently do, but they don’t help the dumped dogs, cats. It is now worse as Greeks and Greek vets will not use “Traces” to get dogs out to other countries ,since Brexit . If none go abroad then no more can be taken into rescues as they are ALL full.

  2. Just to give you more of a picture. I have just had this through. This is quite usual out there. This one was seen and survived. So many dead dogs wired to a tree. Treated worse than you would a spade. “From friends who live near Athens:
    Yesterday a friend called for help, he found this dog when he was walking his own dog.
    Take a close look, he was wired to a tree with no more than 8 inches between his neck and the tree!!
    He has clearly been there for some time, he must have been there through the snow and subzero temperatures we’ve just had. That’s probably why he’s still alive as the snow gave him a source of water.
    He’s a Greek shepherd and should weigh between 35-40 kilo’s. When we picked him up he’s like a feather, he has nothing on his poor emaciated body.
    He was left to slowly starve to death, by the local shepherd. We know this because we
    Used to see this boy with him, then he came with the usual female and a new male. This boy, although not old, was surplus to requirements. We had wormed him before and given him bravecto for ticks and fleas, as we had for the female because they’re given nothing by the owners. He wasn’t looking great so maybe he got sick, they’re never taken to the vet, just replaced with a new model like they’re nothing!
    He’s so weak he can’t stand up, he just collapses. Here’s the thing that gets gets us every time…..when we approached him….he wagged his tail. How much cruelty and neglect does a dog have to suffer before they stop forgiving humans for what we do to them?
    It was late last night so we brought him home, put him on a dog warm bed with blankets, fed him little bits at a time and gave him fluids. This morning he’s off to our lovely vet George. He has a neck wound from the wire, blood tests will be done to see what’s going on with this sweet natured boy….who we have called him Danny.
    He has already found a home.
    Photos to follow from the vets. Greek Animal Rescue will cover his costs for recovery and board. His life will begin now.
    He is one of the lucky ones!!!
    He was found before he died and has been offered a home.
    So many aren’t found in time. They die tied to a tree like this where they can neither sit up or lay down.”

  3. My heart goes out to all them poor animals. Something has to be done to help them. The government should help them. What is this wourld coming to. Its heart breaking i wish i could help

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