English translation of
Law No. 3170/2003
As published in the Government of Greece Newspaper
(This translation is a cleaned-up version of the translation circulated by CIDAG, which was based on the proposed law, and includes changes in the law between the proposal and the final printed version. Elizabeth Koubena, SPAZ for CIDAG)
Owned companion animals and stray companion animals and other provisions
The following are the definitions for the application of this law:
- A companion animal is defined as an animal that is maintained by a person mainly in his house as his companion. Companion animals are also dogs that are used to work with flocks of animals, to hunt, to guard spaces, to protect people with special needs as well as those used by the armed forces and rescue groups.
- A stray animal is an animal which does not have a house, or is found outside the care and supervision or control of his owner or guardian. Excluded are sheep dogs and hunting dogs while they are working.
- A dangerous stray animal is an animal that expresses intense aggressive behavior to a person and other animals, as well as the animal that suffers or has a serious disease that can be transmitted to a person or to other animals and is incurable. A serious disease is characterized as any disease that is medically judged to constitute direct danger to the health of people and other animals, as well as himself or even other species.
- A shelter for stray animals is a special installation where a number of strays are maintained; these can be stray dogs, undesirable dogs or other species of companion animals.
Obligations of dog owners
- Each owner of a dog is compelled a) to declare and have his dog recorded from the age of two months. b) to see to annual minimal veterinary examination of his dog. c) to provide a book of health of his dog. d) to not abandon his dog e)to see that the dog’s excrement in public places is cleaned up
- The statement, the recording and the identification of dogs must be done by veterinarians that practice legally the veterinary profession in Greece in private veterinary clinics, in shelters for stray animals, as well as in veterinary clinics or special spaces that are maintained by the municipalities, the communities and/or the animal welfare associations. With regard to semi-urban and rural regions of country where there are no veterinarians, the statement, the recording and the identification of dogs can be also be done in the rural veterinary clinics of regional governments. The expense of recording and identification is the responsibility of the owner of the dog. The statement, the recording and the identification of dogs is optional for sheep dogs that work with flocks of animals.
- Dogs cannot be walked without an identification collar. The owners of dogs must take suitable measures so that it is impossible for dogs that they generally maintain to exit from their properties or communal spaces. The owner or guardian of the dog is compelled during a walk to have the dog on a leash at a short distance form himself. Sheep dogs and hunting dogs are excluded from these restrictions while they are working, but the owner must have the dog’s health books with him.
- Stock-farming, the education and the utilization of dogs for dog fights or other events which can cause the animals pain, distress or even death, is prohibited.
- The owner or guardian of a dog is accountable for any damage or bodily damage that is caused by this dog to persons or animals, according to No. 924 of the civil code.
- The owners of female dogs should consider the sterilization of the dog to prevent undesired pregnancies if they do not wish to keep the newborns or cannot find new owners.
- The decisions of the Ministers of Agriculture, the Interior and Public Administration determine the deadline and the process of submission of the statement of possession of dog (paragraph 1a); the terms, the conditions, the process and the way of recording and identification of dogs; the responsible institution for the observation of registrations for registered and identified dogs; the type of notebook of health (paragraph 2); and the service responsible for the recording and identification of dogs and their owners.
Stock-farming – Breeding and Marketing of dogs
- Each lawful individual that breeds dogs for commercial aims or sells dogs must have authorization from a responsible regional level veterinary authority in the region of jurisdiction where this activity takes place, according to law PD184-1996 (FEK 137a).
With regard to the stock breeders of dogs, according to law N.604-1997 (FEK 163A) and PD463-1978 (FEK 96A), this authorization is required in the cases which involve more than two female dogs of reproduction or more than two births in female animals of stock-farming.
The issuing of authorization from the responsible veterinary authority must ensure the following: (a) The dogs will be maintained in spaces suitable with regard to their materials of manufacture, the dimensions, the number of maintained animals, the existence of spaces of exercise, the temperature, the lighting, air ventilation and cleanliness. (b) The maintained animals must enjoy essential care with suitable and sufficient quantity of food, water, bedding and the possibility of exercise. (c) Essential measures must be taken for the control and spread of illnesses between the dogs. (d) Essential measures must be taken for the protection of animals in case of fire or other natural dangers. (e) Essential measures must be taken for the sure transport of dogs from and to the installation of stock-farming. (f) The female animals that are used for reproduction mate no earlier than the first year of their age. (g) The female animals of reproduction mate no earlier than the 2nd circle after the last childbirth and in no case before the expiry of 9 months from the last childbirth. (h) Notebooks of health of animals must be kept recording vaccinations of animals, the veterinary examinations and action. (i) Registrations on each female animal of reproduction must be kept in the installations of stock-farming and be made available for control by the responsible authority that grants the authorization and inspects the installations.
- It is not allowed to choose animals for breeding with anatomic and physiologic characteristics and characteristics of behavior of animals that can prove damaging for the health and well being of the female reproductive animal and her descendants.
- The sale of dogs is not allowed without proper identification and the dogs cannot be younger than seven weeks old.
- The decision of the Minister of Agriculture determines the terms and the conditions of dogs being sold and other companion animals, as well as each other relative detail of application.
Organisation of exhibitions and other dog events
- Any individual or legal group of individuals organizing exhibitions or other dog events is responsible for obtaining proper authorization from the responsible regional level veterinary authority
- During the exhibition or event, concern must be given to the wellbeing of the participating animals to protect them from fear, agony and pain. Dogs that present unprovoked aggressive behavior to other animals or persons are obliged to wear a muzzle or be removed from the exhibition or event.
- All dogs that participate in the exhibition or event must be declared, registered, identified and have a book of health which shows they are vaccinated and de-wormed.
Obligations of cat owners and other companion animals
- Every cat owner has the same obligations stated in Article 2, b,c, and d of paragraph 1 and paragraph 6 of article 2.
- It is not allowed for cats to be used for their fur, skin or meat, for pharmaceutical purposes or other experiments.
- In exhibitions and other events organized, for cats, paragraphs 1,2,3 apply except that cats do not have to registered and have identification as dogs do in article 4.
- It is not allowed to breed or train animals to be used against other companion animals in fights.
Companion animals in households
- Each household is allowed to have 1 dog and 1 cat or 2 dogs or 2 cats, regardless of the rules of the apartment building. It is forbidden to have companion animals in the common areas of the apartment buildings, external garage areas and roof terraces, etc. Single houses are allowed to have companion animals in their own open areas as long as they follow the law according to No. 1 1197/1981 (FEK 240A) and the police code for the communal quiet.
Collection of stray dogs
- The collection of stray dogs is the responsibility of municipalities and communities. Collection of stray animals can also be carried out by animal welfare associations after approval of the responsible municipality or community. Those who carry out the capture and collection should be suitably trained and have experience in handling animals. The capture and collection should not cause pointless pain, grief or distress to the animals.
- The capture and collection must take place under the monitoring and control of veterinary services of the regional governments.
- The dogs that are collected are taken to shelters that are founded and run by the municipalities, the communities, the animal welfare associations as well legal individuals or groups of people. In a joint decision by the Ministers of Agriculture, Internal Affairs and Public Administration, the terms of the foundation and operation of shelters as well as the terms of already functioning shelters (N.604/1977 and P.D. 463/1978) are determined.
- The dogs that are collected are taken to animal shelters where, after veterinary examination they remain until they are adopted. Dogs that are given for adoption are registered, de-wormed, vaccinated and neutered. Dogs that are collected and identified as owned dogs are returned to their owners. In case of non adoption, provided that according to veterinary opinion they are judged healthy, the dogs are returned by the decision the municipal or community authority to the environment, after being identified, dewormed, vaccinated and neutered. The responsibility for the supervision, care and well-being of the dogs remains with the persons defined in paragraph 3, section 1. On the release of stray animals into the environment (and inside the limits of municipality) it is the responsibility of the municipalities to control the density of population of dogs in the areas of release. The release of dogs in regions where there are hospitals, schools, athletic centers, motorways with rapid circulation and airports is not allowed.
- Dogs that after veterinary examination are determined to be dangerous according to the definition of article 1 or are suffering from an incurable disease, are euthanised. Dogs incompetent to live on their own because of old age or infirmity are euthanised, provided that after veterinary examination it is determined that their health is compromised and maintaining their lives goes against their well-being. Stray dogs that at the veterinary examination are determined to be suffering from a curable disease are given appropriate therapy under the responsibility of the shelter authorities.
- Article 46 of N.998/1979 (FEK 289A), paragraph 7 is added as is: “In the process and presumptions that are established in paragraph 5, the founding and running of shelter can be for any type of stray animal. The application must have the necessary documents according to case b and c of article 2 of PD 190/1981 (FEK 54A) and is examined according to laws of articles 3 through 7 of the above.”
- The decision of the Minister of Agriculture determines the way, the process and the responsible body for the identification of collected stray dogs, for the creation of a network of briefing of citizens for the adoption of allocated animals, for the adoption and the delivery of these to the new owner, for the statement of loss on the return of identified dogs in the owner, for the release in the environment of stray dogs in cases where this is allowed, for the delivery of dogs in shelters of animals from the owners that do not wish their maintenance, for the euthanasia in the cases where it is allowed.
- In a joint decision by the Ministers of Agriculture, Interior and Public Administration, grants are given to the agencies that are mentioned in paragraph 3a for the foundation and running of animal shelters for companion animals. In the same decision, it is stated which agencies are granted funds, their goals, the amount of the grant and all the administrative requirements.
Non-access of stray animals to the garbage of establishments
The persons in charge of slaughterhouses, butcheries, hospitals, army camps and general large establishments have the responsibility to ensure that stray animals do not have access to the garbage of such installations.
Training and promotion of animal welfare
- The responsible section of the Ministry of Agriculture looks into the organization or co-organization with other sectors for educational seminars and promotion in the mass media regarding programs of education and training for people that have companion animals and for people that breed, train, sell and shelter companion animals and for informing these people about the content of the law which has to do with the protection of companion animals.
- In a joint decision of the Minister of Agriculture and the Economy, they can grant funds for the application of programs in the previous paragraph and they are also responsible for the conditions of the grant. .
Collection of fallen animals
- The services which according to the general provisions are responsible for the clean-up of the national roads, country roads and city streets are also responsible for collecting the dead bodies of fallen animals and to handle their burial in agreement with national and community provisions.
Organization and Application of Programs for the prevention and control of animal diseases
- The prevention and control of diseases that can be transmitted by the animals to a person and/or to other animals or himself or other species are dealt with according to special programs or other additional measures worked out by the general management of the Veterinary Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with every other co-responsible authority, if it is required, and applied by the veterinary services of regional local authorities. In the event of rabbies occurring in animals of independent species, the general management of the Veterinary Ministry of Agriculture can also take measures for the region or the territory, according to the present law, N. 1197/1981, N.2017/1992 (FEK 31A).
- The decision of the Ministry of Agriculture defines the veterinarian health requirements concerning the aversion of a dangerous invasion or escape of animal diseases, and other relevant subjects.
- The offenders of article 2, paragraph 4 and article 5, paragraphs 2 and 4, are punished with imprisonment up to twelve (12) months or with pecuniary sentence from five thousand (5000) to ten thousand (10,000) Euros, or even with the two sentences. In case of relapse the sentences are doubled.
- The offenders of provisions in articles 4 are punished with a sentence of imprisonment up to three (3) months or pecuniary a sentence from four hundred (400) until two thousand four hundred (2400) Euros or even with the two sentences.
- Infringement of provisions of article 1 paragraphs 1 and. 2 .1197/81 and under the order of the responsible public prosecutor, an animal can be removed from the possession of the offender and be delivered to an animal welfare association or a shelter for stray companion animals.
- Article 8, 1197/1981
- The offenders of the provisions of article 1, paragraphs 1,2,3 and 4 are punished with a prison sentence of up to six (6) months or a fine from three hundred (300) up to one thousand five hundred 1500) Euros or with the two penalties.
- The offenders of the provision of articles 2,3,4, paragraphs 2 and 3 are punished with a prison sentence of up to five (5) months with fines from three (300) to one thousand five hundred (1500) Euros, or with the two penalties
- The penalties of paragraph 2 are also imposed on violations of each order or forbidden provision of N.586/1977 (FEK 140A)
- The theft of a hunting dog is punishable with a prison sentence of six (6) months and a fine of five thousand Euros.
- Apart from the penal sanctions of previous articles 2, paragraphs 3,4.6 and articles 3,4 and 5, fines can also be imposed from three hundred (300) up to thousand five hundred (1.500) Euro. The level of the fine will take into consideration the gravity of the infringement, the duration and the intention or non-intention of the offender, as well as relapse.
- a) The fine leveled in the previous paragraph is imposed by the decision of the mayor or head of village, after the proposal of the municipal or Community council. The decision of the fine imposed is delivered by a person of the municipality or community to the residence or to any place where the offender can be found and it is then reported to the municipality or community. In case of refusal of receipt, the one that delivers the fine draws up the document that certifies the refusal. The decision is then posted on the door of the municipality or community and the document is signed by two witnesses. b) After the decision of the imposition of the fine, the offender has the right of resort in front of the responsible administrative court as quickly as possible within a deadline of thirty (30) days, which begins the day after he receives the decision. The exercise of resort does not suspend the implementation of the decision, however, with decision of chairman of administrative court of first instance, in which is pending the resort, be suspended, according to the provisions of article 2 n.820/1978 (A 174), as it was replaced with article 27 n.1406/1983 (A 182), partly or in the total, the implementation of decision in question, if because of her faults is speculated partial or total success of resort or is realised, from concrete elements, weakness of payment by applicant.
- The fines of this article are collected by the municipalities and communities. The processing of income from the collection of fines as well as other relative subject related to the application of this paragraph are determined by the decisions of the Ministers of Agriculture, Internal Affairs and Public Administration.
Modifications of Provisions
Articles 1 through 4 replaces and/or add words to sections in previous laws pertaining to animals.
Article 5 re-defines measurements of space in animal shelters in article 3, law P.D. 463/1978 (FEK 96A).
Article 6 deals with already existing veterinary clinics adapting to the new law
This article deals with provisions of certain previous laws that are no longer valid because they have been replaced.
Organized topics pertaining to the National Foundation of Agricultural Research
This article deals with changes and replacement of certain words and/or phrases relating to the National Foundation of Agricultural Research.