Successful Rescue of Many Animals From Cruel Conditions in Chania, Greece


An important project recently took place in Chania, a city on the Greek island of Crete: a large and difficult rescue of several different species of animals such as pigs, rabbits, ducks, chickens, and dogs and puppies.

The rescue operation took place after a complaint was received by Panhellic Environmental and Animal Welfare Federation (PFPO) about several animals living in appalling living conditions in the area of Platanias, Chania.

Some tourists who had come to Crete on vacation contacted PFPO’s President, Natassa Bobolaki. They had heard something that sounded like crying. Actually, it was the cries of animals in a well-hidden place, which they discovered upon searching for the source of the sounds. 

An example of the conditions some of the chickens were being kept in. Image via PFPO.

On the very next day, the tourists and Mrs. Bobolaki went to the spot together. It was a horrible situation! More than 30 animals of various species were being kept in appalling conditions. Rotten food and bowls filled with dirty water or nothing at all were all around. Pigs were living in filth, rabbits kept in tiny, filthy cages, dogs who were in barrels with holes cut into them or chained up on short chains. There were 8 puppies showing signs of heat exhaustion, whose mother was unable to reach them, as she was on such a short chain.

Because of the high temperatures during this time of year, the tourists and Mrs. Bobolaki provided the animals with water first, and then called the police. After a while, the owner was arrested under Greek animal law, which calls for imprisonment of at least one year and up to five, plus a fine of 500 euros per animal.

Unfortunately, animals living in deplorable conditions is more common than not in this area. In this case, most of the animals, such as the rabbits, pigs, chicken and ducks, were being raised for consumption by the owner’s family, while the dogs were used as guard dogs.

By police order, all the animals were confiscated. Now, animal welfare organizations have been focusing on their adoptions, so that they can finally live a better life.

The rabbits after their rescue. They are now living a better life in safe homes. Image via PFPO.

Special mention must be made of the fact that this large animal rescue operation, which lasted 5 days, was quite difficult, so harmonious cooperation between a number of animal welfare and anti-speciesism bodies was more important than ever.

In particular, removing pigs was the hardest part of the whole operation because special handling was required. For that reason, specialists in handling specific animal species provided assistance.

It was also very difficult to find people to adopt all the animals who would not eat them. A safe home was particularly hard to find for the three pigs, who will each weigh more than 300 kilos (660 pounds)! At last, a vegan family adopted the three pigs, and they are now living a happy and free life. Their adventure has been widely followed through local media, and many parents bring their children to visit the vegan farm, where they can see pigs living free, not being kept in tiny cages.

It should be mentioned that a large animal rescue operation like this is quite a rare event in Greece.

Thirty-eight animals were rescued because a chain of people had been working tirelessly, in harmony and in close coordination. In our opinion, this fact was a great life lesson! Together we can do so much.

We would like to publicly thank for their contribution:

  • Ann and Helen, who found this horrible place and provided direct information to PFPO.
  • Mathaios Igglezakis. Assistant Police Commissioner of Platanias Police Station, for his assistance and contribution to the rescue operation.
  • Chania Anonymous for the Voiceless, Chania Animal Protection, Friends of Animals – Rethymno and The Souda Shelter Project for their valuable help.
  • Our fellow citizens who fostered the animals until they were adopted.
  • The specialized team who rescued the three pigs. 

The following video of the rescued pigs is the best evidence of all!

The rescued pigs eat happily, safe from cruel conditions and slaughter. Video via PFPO.

Featured image: a dog looks out from a cage. This image is not from the rescue in this story. Image credit katebartnik, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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About Author

The Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation was established in 2010, and is the largest animal welfare organization in Greece. Their mission is to protect and uphold the rights of animals through protest and legal actions. Click to see author's profile. Learn more about PFPO's work here.

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