Un­wanted pets be­ing dumped in aban­doned vil­lage of Mavropigi

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY IOANNA FOTIADI

The vil­lage of Mavropigi in the re­gion of Western Mace­do­nia may have been aban­doned by its res­i­dents sev­eral years ago to make way for a new lig­nite quarry, but the number of strays roam­ing its streets keeps grow­ing.

The prob­lem started when a number of the de­part­ing lo­cals left their pets be­hind. It was com­pounded by vil­lagers from the sur­round­ing area who dumped their un­wanted an­i­mals – mostly dogs – in the ghost town.

“The re­sult is that there is a large number of dogs in Mavropigi. Around 30 can usu­ally be found in the main square and there are many more that have formed packs in other parts of the vil­lage, while in­evitably there are al­ways more pup­pies, many of which die of dis­eases such as ty­phus,” says Tri­antafyl­lia Petrou, es­ti­mat­ing that there are at least 70 stray dogs in the vil­lage.

Petrou is an an­i­mal lover who lives around 15 kilo­me­ters away in Ptole­maida and to­gether with an­other vol­un­teer has taken on the daunt­ing task of try­ing to pro­vide some as­sis­tance to the ne­glected denizens of Mavropigi, mak­ing weekly vis­its to pro­vide them with food and fresh water.

She re­cently got a help­ing hand from a group called An­i­mal Ac­tion to spay and neuter as many dogs as pos­si­ble in or­der to start con­tain­ing the pop­u­la­tion. “Be­sides all of the other risks they face, the noise of the on­go­ing de­mo­li­tions of build­ings is frightening the an­i­mals and they are run­ning away, get­ting lost,” says the group’s cam­paign man­ager, Serafina Avrami­dou.

Petrou be­lieves that it would be pos­si­ble to build a shel­ter, es­pe­cially for the pup­pies, as find­ing fam­i­lies to adopt them will be al­most im­pos­si­ble in an area that, as she says, “is not known for lov­ing an­i­mals.”

The fact that so many peo­ple dump their pets in Mavropigi is ev­i­dence enough of this cal­lous men­tal­ity. “They be­lieve that no one will ev­ery find them there,” says Avrami­dou.

An­i­mal Ac­tion runs cam­paigns in many parts of Greece fac­ing sim­i­lar prob­lems. “Twice a year we go to Asty­palaia, which has a huge stray cat prob­lem and no vet, as well as to Kalam­baka and Li­to­horo, which also have too many stray dogs,” Avrami­dou ex­plains.

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