Animal Friends Kissamos, an interview

Hi, I am Anita, a new member of the Kissamos News ‘Clan’.

Today, Wednesday the 8th of September,  I am interviewing two members of Animal Friends Kissamos (AFK).
AFK started as a team in March 2019 following a period of dog poisonings in Kissamos when a lot of dogs tragically died. A number of people, went to the police to ask for help to put this horrible situation to an end.
They formed a group of like-minded people that started off with a meeting in the town hall in September 2018. That was the birth of Animal Friends Kissamos, which now consists of about 13 core members and Almost a thousand Facebook supporters!
From there, the activities evolved towards collecting stray dogs and cats off the streets and trying to rehome them.

AFK works with the Dimos in the municipality of Kissamos.

The Dimos provides some financial support and with this money, a small number of the animals can be neutered. But the funding is limited and lasts for only a few months of the year. Some additional financial help is received from a few small charities in Germany, France, and the UK.

AFK is now working towards becoming an official Association. This process has proven to be a challenge, with lots of paperwork. But they are determined to get there.

The main goals of AFK are short-term fostering prior to rehoming of cats and dogs. As an Association it will be easier to report abuses to the police and to work together with the municipality. Being an association is also necessary in order to receive international donations via Facebook etc, to become self-sufficient.
Supporters will be able to donate money directly. Currently, donations can be made to cover medical costs directly to Kissamos vets, to pay for neutering and other bills. Any amount is welcomed!

Every Association needs a chairman, deputy chairman, secretary, treasurer, and a Public Relations person.
If you would like to apply for one of these roles you would be more than welcome! Some advanced Greek language skills will be necessary though, because of the contacts with the police and the municipality. These positions require you to play an active role and get involved with the group.

Are there other ways you can help?
First of all, there are always people needed for fostering. What does that entail? Puppies and kittens are often abandoned when the mother stops feeding them, at around 4 or 5 weeks old. When they are found fostering is needed. The animals usually get rehomed when they are about 4 months old. Even if you could only foster one cat or dog, that would be a great help.
There are also older cats and dogs who need your help. Medical bills and food will be provided.
If you cannot foster you could help by transporting animals to the vet for neutering or for an x-ray in Chania which has the nearest facilities. Or transport an animal to its new home. Maybe you like dog walking, or help with socializing dogs. There’s also a need for IT help with the AFK Facebook page.

Back to the interview, we talked about the role that tourists have in saving stray animals. AFK gets a lot of messages from concerned tourists, who find abandoned kittens and puppies that they would like to be taken care of. Many people are shocked at the conditions some dogs are kept in, conditions that are often illegal . Clearly, ideas about what is acceptable are not the same in every country. In the end, it doesn’t do tourism any good; some people decide to take their vacation elsewhere in the future as a silent protest.

AFK members said that the rewards of fostering the stray animals, which are often in bad shape when they get found, are tremendous. Every day they bring you happiness. To see them develop, get socialized, growing into happy healthy dogs and cats, is just priceless.

AFK likes to emphasize that they don’t want foreigners to be seen as taking over the Kissamos’ stray dogs and cats, and they really welcome local Greek people to become actively involved in animal welfare. So please ask your Greek friends and neighbours if they are interested in actively supporting this great cause. Thanks!

Of course, the help and support of the local vets are important too, and luckily there are three practices in Kissamos, with some very good, supportive vets.
If you would like to make a donation towards paying some vet bills (directly to the vet), please contact AFK at info@afkissamos.gr

On Facebook:(in Greek font): Filozoi Kissamou, Animal Friends Kissamos

Don’t be shy, the animals need your help!

 

ANITA: I am Dutch, have lived in the South of France for the past 16 years, and now divide my time between Crete and France. I have a 21-year-old son and an almost 13-year-old dog Sybe. The dog travels with me, the son sometimes ;-)! Greek friends, that I have known since the eighties, brought me to Crete in the first place. Now it is still them, many other friends, and all the joys of this beautiful island, that keep me coming back. I am currently living in Voulgaro.