Introduction - Who We Are
Zante Strays is the name given to a group of active people working together with a passion for animals on the island of Zakynthos, Greece. We are all volunteers using our own resources with absolutely no funding from any government sources.
We do raise funds for our cause and have a great number of supporters who believe in what we do. The majority of these supporters are located in the United Kingdom with others in Germany, Holland and other places in Europe. Many of our supporters have visited Greece and have been appalled at the cruelty and neglect of animals there. We are determined to make a difference on our magnificent island and as we have no overheads and pay no salaries (all services are given free by volunteers), so we are able to use every penny collected for the suffering animals in Zakynthos Greece.
Animals in Zakynthos, Greece
Those of you who have visited Greece will no doubt have seen the stray cats and dogs in villages, towns and throughout the countryside. Zante / Zakynthos is no different. It maybe an island and holiday destination but the culture is the same all over Greece. It is heart breaking to see so many of them suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, disease. We get so many emails during the tourist season from traumatised animal lovers who do not want to see this suffering while on holiday. Most of the strays are always crawling with fleas and ticks. Some have to endure the pain of untreated injuries. We see many with fractures that have ‘healed’ leaving the poor animal disabled. Most learn to adapt as they have to in order to survive. We often also see animals with awful wounds. Most people are indifferent to their suffering … Just another stray.....
Few cats and dogs are sterilised. Many females fall pregnant at a very young age - babies having babies, no sooner have they given birth, they are pregnant again. Many struggle to find food/water and are unable to produce enough milk to nourish their young. Sadly many young kittens/puppies die in the early stages of life. Those that are strong enough to survive continue their fight for survival. It's a never ending circle of suffering.
We see so many pregnant/nursing females abandoned with their babies ... left to fend for themselves with no food or shelter. Unwanted kittens/puppies are taken from their mothers as soon as they are born. Some are killed prior to being 'dumped' others are left to die slowly. We have rescued dozens over the years found in bins still with their umbilical cords attached. Sadly it's just too late for many.
It is common practice for the hunters to keep their dogs in tiny cages so that they can hardly move. They then starve them because they stupidly think that the dog will hunt better because it is so hungry. The fact of the matter is that the dog is so weak, emaciated, and without muscle that it can do nothing. At that point the hunter dumps them often in the mountains and, of course, they have little or no chance of survival.
Then there is the so called barrel dogs. The poor creatures that live chained, night and day. They don't get enough food or water, the only thing they are given is just a poor shelter that mostly consists of a rusty barrel, the barrel they are named after. They must stay there all the time, chained, no food, no water, under the sun, under the rain.
Poisoning is also a popular method of keeping the number of strays to a minimum. Animals are frequently poisoned, having to endure a slow painful death. Poison is mixed with food and/or water. If an animal hasn't consumed enough poison to cause death within minutes, it often takes longer, the poor animal dies slowly over time. We have lost count of the numbers of cats and dogs we have seen that have died as a result of poisoning.
Animal cruelty laws are very rarely enforced. Very few people are ever prosecuted. You often feel that you are fighting a losing battle but we will continue to fight for the strays, the abandoned, the unwanted and the unloved. Although we can't save them all, we can and have made a difference to many on our beautiful island of Zakynthos, however small that may be, we will continue to fight.
What We Do
All our members have the same level of commitment and dedication to the cause. Our objectives are to rescue animals, re home them and to do whatever we can to improve the living conditions of the strays and homed animals of the island.
We educate encouraging neutering of all pet animals and offer half price sterilisations of owned animals to try to hit the problem at source for those owners who simply just cannot afford it.
We rescue and treat abandoned/ injured and sick animals and foster them in our own homes until they are well enough to find their forever homes. Often for the more complicated breaks and fractures we take them to a specialist veterinary practise in Athens.
We find homes for the beautiful loving strays in Europe through our dedicated teams in Germany, Holland and the UK.
We support the sterilise and release of the strays on the island. This is run by an independent motivated individual at present but in time we hope to support this on a more regular basis financially. This together with the Half Price Sterilisation Programme of OWNED animals that we offer is the way forward to a better future of our Zakynthian strays.