Athens, Greece - More than 3,000 dogs poisoned and burned!
Athens accused of killing strays
Wednesday, October 1, 2003 Posted: 10:36 AM EDT (1436 GMT)
Wednesday, October 1, 2003 Posted: 1436 GMT (10:36 PM HKT)
ATHENS, Greece (Reuters) -- Greek dog lovers accused the city of Athens on Wednesday of poisoning and burning more than 3,000 stray dogs this year to try to clean up streets before the 2004 Olympics.
"The dogs have been killed, poisoned, burnt and dumped in garbage bins in various areas of the capital," Marianna Polichroniadou, head of a new citizens' pressure group which includes lawyers, actors and politicians, told a news conference.
City authorities and Athens Olympics organizers (ATHOC), who are eager to deal with the problem of more than 10,000 stray dogs roaming Athens, rejected the accusations.
Officials in June said dogs would be rounded up, neutered and returned to their neighborhoods. But the pressure group alleged city authorities and games organizers got rid of them.
"We categorically deny the allegations. They are unfounded and malicious," city official Paul Anastasi told Reuters, pointing to the mayor's 1.8 million euro plan to care for stray animals to be unveiled later this week.
ATHOC spokesman Serafim Kotrotsos said Games organizers had picked up 62 stray dogs during recent test events, neutered and tagged them before releasing them again.
But Polichroniadou said strays were killed in three waves this year -- before the Greek presidency of the European Union, during an EU summit in April and in August when people were away on holiday.