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  Stray dogs re-homed in Athens
Updated 24 August 2004, 13.17
Stray dogs in Athens
By Neil Doughty
Newsround Online in Athens

Even though the Olympic Games are happening in Greece at the moment, Athens doesn't seem as busy as it should be.

Most of the children here have gone on their summer holidays to the Greek islands and many of the stray dogs that normally live here too have taken a break.

Stray dogs in Athens aren't like the ones in the UK. They're often looked after by local people, who feed them and leave out water for them.

They're almost like shared neighbourhood pets, wearing special collars so that if they get lost people know which area to take them back to.

Animal shelters

But during the Games some of the dogs living near the Olympic venues have been taken away from their normal patches to special animal shelters.

Some British newspapers have said the dogs were going to be put to sleep, much like what can happen to strays in other countries like the UK, but that isn't the case in Athens.

George the vet speaks to Ellie
George the vet speaks to Ellie
Instead they are well looked after and will be put back onto the streets where they were found, after a vet has looked them over.

George Papaioannou, the vet, said: "We are giving them special injections so they can't have puppies again and to make sure they can't catch any nasty diseases.

"People can come to the shelters and if they want to adopt a dog they can.

"If they are not adopted they are taken back to the place where they were found."

Well-looked after

Most of the dogs are really well-looked after so the only thing wrong with them is a few scratches and scrapes from fights they have had with other dogs.

People can adopt the dogs from the shelter
People can adopt the dogs from the shelter
Often people call the centre to say they are feeding a group of dogs, so the centre takes them in, checks them out and then puts them back on the streets.

And if the dogs aren't back in a couple of weeks the people call the centre to find out where they are!

"We want the dogs to live with the people and the people to live with the dogs and not be afraid of each other," added George.

Some dogs are bit more aggressive than others, so they stay a bit longer at the shelter to get used to people looking after them.

And George says the rumours in the UK that dogs are being poisoned are just that: "They are rumours. They are going back after 10-15 days. That is the truth."

More InfoBORDER=0
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