The popular Greek island of Santorini is in the spotlight after municipal authorities said they were evicting the long-running Santorini Animal Welfare Association (SAWA), where the island’s stray dogs and aging donkeys are housed.
SAWA is claiming that the municipality has failed to find a new property to host the shelter and local authorities are closing off the only road that leads to the refuge, blocking the passage of volunteers and making it impossible for trucks carrying water and food to animals to gain access to the shelter.
According to media reports, the animal welfare group is suing, among others, Thera Mayor Anastasios-Nikolaos Zorzos, who responded to the complaints this week with a statement.
Mr Zorzos said that the municipality covers all the necessary expenses for the care of the stray animals through its own resources, which amounts to more than 80,000 euros annually.
“Following complaints from individuals and an investigation conducted by the South Aegean Region, it was found that the said shelter did not comply with the legislation and that the island’s animal welfare association does not meet the legal requirements,” the mayor said in the statement.
Mr Zorzos concluded that the municipal authorities have for the past two years sought a property which would house the welfare association but to no avail. He added, however, that he will continue his efforts “to find a suitable place so that we can continue to care for the stray animals of our island”.
In the meantime, animal lovers are reacting to the news through comments in international media, including GTP Headlines, that should the mayor fail to find a solution, Santorini will see the number of tourists there dwindle.