Dogs with their owners are seen during a rally against a proposed law by thegovernment related to household pets, at Syntagma square, in Athens, Sunday,May 23, 2021. Several hundred dog owners, most of them also hunters, and theirpets, protested outside the Greek Parliament Sunday against a new law, stillat the consultation stage, that mandates sterilization of household pets. (APPhoto/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS, Greece — Several hundred dog owners and their pets gathered Sundayoutside Greece’s Parliament in protest against a draft law that will makesterilization of household pets — especially cats and dogs — mandatory.

The dog owners railed against the bill’s “abolition of amateur breeding, thebackbone of dog loving,” as they called it in a statement. Most of them werealso hunters and protested against last year’s ban on hunting, due to thecoronavirus pandemic.

Government officials have said the bill does indeed target so-called “amateurbreeding” by non-specialists, who do it for the money. They say there areoften abusive practices, with female dogs forced to breed continuously formaximum profit and often discarded when of no further use to the breeder.

The protesters saw it differently, and were often emotional about it.

“We are here to show our love to our children. They are not just our dogs,(they are) what we have been loving since we were kids and those who governwant to take them away from us,” a tearful Christos Xiros, one of theprotesters, told The Associated Press.

The protesters dispersed peacefully after chanting slogans and listening to aspeech.

The draft bill is still at the consultation stage. It will then be submittedto Parliament.

Source: Srdjan Nedeljkovic and Washington Post

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