To stray or not to stray: how can we help?

A pack of stray dogs

The days are long gone when you would see packs of stray dogs roaming beaches everywhere in Corfu or waiting around at the entrance of villages. Over the last decades their numbers have surely been diminished, and the same goes for stray cats. However, there are still too many dogs and cats around in poor or even desperate conditions.

A major problem is that too many animals are allowed to breed on the streets. Their owners don’t check them or have simply dumped them. One of the local organisations that make a huge effort to improve the fate of stray animals is meaningfully called ‘The Ark’. Their main goal is to “catch, neuter, and release the many stray and abandoned dogs and cats in Corfu”. This way they hope to reduce, or at least contain, the ever-growing population of strays.

Sterilising
Once caught The Ark takes care of sterilising the animals and giving treatment for parasites, fleas, ticks and worms. The next step is to re-home these unfortunate animals but that is virtually impossible due to the large number of cats and dogs already looking for homes. With great reluctance many have to be returned onto the streets. This is very frustrating, as a number of them are destined to suffer injury or even die from poisoning.

Feeding programme
The Ark has a major dog food sponsor. The food is distributed on the island by volunteers. This service is particularly important during the winter months when the tourists have returned home and there are very few people available to feed the dogs.

Responsible dog ownership
The Ark actively promotes responsible dog ownership and also offers a ‘school visit programme’ to improve children’s understanding of animals. These visits are carried out by one of the Ark’s members and a local veterinary surgeon.

Re-homing
If you wish to adopt a Corfu dog or cat: contact The Ark. Are you a visitor and want to take an animal back to your home country there are certain procedures to follow. The Ark offers useful advice and practical assistance.

Adopt of foster?
Corfu residents can offer help in many ways: adopting rescued dogs and cats or fostering them for a maximum of tree-four weeks; transporting sick animals; donating of dog leads, collars and blankets, and distributing food.

Help from outside Corfu
If you live outside Greece The Ark still needs your help: you can become a member or take a befriended animal back home. There is also need for flying partners, who accompany a dog on his way to its new owner, usually in Germany or Holland. The Ark will assist with all the formalities on Corfu’s Kapodistrias Airport.

Shop in town
When in Corfu Town you can visit the charity shop and information centre at 11 Ag. Dimitriou Street.
For more information: http://www.corfuanimalwelfare.com

Flying to the Netherlands?
Dutch tourists flying from Corfu to the Netherlands wishing to assist in adopting or accompanying a dog with them can also turn to the organisation Stichting Wereldhonden. Volunteers will assist you with the paperwork, the checking in of the dog at Corfu’s airport and the collection of the dog at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. All costs are covered by Wereldhonden. The sooner you get in touch before flying the better!
For more information: http://www.wereldhonden.nl

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