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Published May 2002
LGVN special Report

Pride, Poison and Prejudice around the Parthenon... extra

The Piraeus Incident
March 2005 latest ...
Gargouini is at it again.

Update: 30th March 2005
The fifty eight dogs impounded by Greek authorities have now been freed and handed back to the rescue organization Arch Noah Krete. The dogs are now in Germany ready to be united with their new owners around North West Europe, including the UK. However, representatives of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture (i.e. Garagouni and her entourage) will be travelling to Germany to visit Arche Noah to investigate what has happened with the dogs. Somehow the Greeks have decided that half the animals may have died on the way to Germany or else that as soon as they arrived they have been turned into fur coats. Even though this is obviously not the case it is alleged that Garagouni is feeding the Greek media with this misinformation, who will in turn publish more nonsense. It's also alleged that Garagouini says she will double efforts to stop all transport of rescued dogs out of Greece. This news means that the siutation for Greek strays only gets worse. For events leading to this update and more see below.

1st March 2005
In an unjustified seizure of rescued animals from Crete, fifty eight dogs, property of the animal rescue group Arche Noah Kreta were illegally detained at the port of Piraeus near Athens on the 28th Feb 2005. Arche Noah say the animals were taken from them and transported to an unknown location by opponents of animal welfare organizations.
The main cause of this meddling is led once again by none-other than the infamous Mrs. Ioanna Garagouni (also spelt J. Karagkouni). In a similar scenario to the Athens airport incident last year, Garagouni brought along Greek TV News Alpha to cover the "event". It seems that neither Garagouni or Alpha TV have learnt the lessons of last year's entirely inaccurate reporting and probing of innocent animal rescue groups transporting strays to new homes in North and West Europe. (see main LGVN feature)

This time, Mrs. Garagouni somehow managed to obtain a provisional injunction from the public prosecutor for a seizure of the animals, due to leave for Germany. Arche Noah Kreta say, "Garagouni waylaid the vehicle, accompanied by the police and press, and grabbed all accompanying papers from the drivers, (allegedly) falsely claiming she herself was "from the police". She returned the certificates of vaccination; the other papers (allegedly) disappeared." "At this point, our drivers were still in good spirits, thinking they could continue their journey after everything had been thoroughly checked. However, things came to a head, when it was claimed that the microchips carried by the dogs were German, and that this was illegal. In the end, even a visit to the toilet could only be made in the presence of the police."

Through TV and press, Garagouni continues to attempt to systematically destroy good-cause operations of animal groups in Greece by giving false impressions about the fate of the rescued and transported animals. She claims that these animals are sent to north and west Europe for fur and experimentation. Greeks are generally very patriotic in nature and for the sake of pride prefer to believe stories like Garagouni's that twist truths to their favour. They are not happy that the rest of the world cite them as cruel to their animals, resulting in mistreated dogs and cats being transported to "safe" countries, like Holland, Belgium, Germany, UK and USA. Garagouini plays on Greek jingoism to claim that she is doing the right thing for Greek animals. However, when these animals are stopped by her and the authorities from leaving the country, the rescue groups have no choice but to return them back to the streets, leading to ultimate starvation and death.

In the case of the 58 unwanted dogs from Crete, Garagouni has seriously upset what should have been a straight forward exportation of properly micro-chipped and vaccinated animals from Greece to new homes in Germany. They are now stranded in Athens and are not allowed to continue their journey. As Arche Noah Kreta say, "These dogs are legally the property of our charity on Crete, until they are handed over to their future owners in Germany!"

See below for a further statement by Arche Noah Kreta and also details where you can send protest letters to.

To read the full story about Greece and their strays read the LGVN special feature:
Pride, Poison and Prejudice around the Parthenon

A Statement from Arche Noah Kreta as from March 1st 2005

There are no legal grounds for stopping our vehicle:

  1. In Athens, the animals have not even left Greek territory.
  2. The use of German microchips is not illegal. According to Greek law a dog, which has been looked after for 7 days by a charity or a private person, becomes their property.
  3. The majority of the animals had already found new owners in Germany.
  4. Some of the animals were brought to the animal home in Chania by the municipality of Heraklion, because they were seriously injured. The action from the opponents to the animal charity is thus also directed against their own fellow countrymen, i.e. the Greek authorities on Crete!
  5. There only existed a spoken resolution from the public prosecutor, no resolution in writing was shown.
  6. According to Greek law, the seizure could only have been ordered by an official veterinary surgeon: none was present.
  7. Mrs. Karagkouni confiscated the papers of the drivers herself. This not legal, since she is not a police officer, and has no such authority.
  8. All the animals in this transport have the correct vaccinations and are microchipped.

All the animals, amongst them many puppies which have been brought up by private supporters of our charity in their own homes, would have a secure and good home to go to in Germany. Their fate in Athens is uncertain. According to the latest information, the animals are to be taken to a big Greek animal pound.

At present, a German journalist (from the Bild-Zeitung) is accompanying the Pyromane and our three drivers, Anna from Paleochora, Gaby and Steve Hoffmann. Despite hour-long telephone conversations, no conclusion had been reached on Sunday.

According to our lawyer the whole procedure is even in Greece illegal, because it took place within the country and not on its border to another country. Apart from this fact, we are obviously deeply concerned about the welfare of the animals in our care. The drivers Steve, his girl friend Gabi, and Anna, who accompanied them to help tend the animals, will try to at least stay near them. However, they were so far only allowed to attend to the dogs once. In the meantime, accompanied by the police, they have arrived in an "animal home" in Athens, where the dogs were unloaded.

Furthermore, Mrs. Karagkouni has, under the pretence of being an official, taken possession of all our transport papers (statutory declaration, legal certificate and a letter of support from the German Embassy in Athens). As in the past, she justifies her actions by claiming that we want to sell the animals for animal experiments, and thus violate Greek animal protection laws.

We ask all animal lovers to act together, and to bring the Greek authorities to adhere at last to their own laws, and to stop the dubious actions of those opposed to animal welfare!

Please send your protest letters directly to the Ministry of Agriculture in Athens:
Fax: 0030-210-5240955.
e-Mail: ax2u098@minagric.gr

Related Links

Please sign a petition

Visit Arche Noah Kreta's website (Noah's Arc Crete)

WAG: http://www.wagny.org


To read the full story about Greece and their strays read the LGVN special feature:
Pride, Poison and Prejudice around the Parthenon

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