Greek protesters, turning out daily in Athens to throw bricks at riot police against the backdrop of the country’s financial problems, have unveiled their secret weapon – Sausage, a good natured stray.
The ginger mongrel lives in Syntagma Square at the heart of the city, and has captivated the country by providing some comic relief as a contrast to the on-going violence and brutality. Siding with the indignant mob, he can be seen at the front line stirring up trouble by barking at the police and occasionally tripping officers up as they charge the crowd.
Sausage actually goes by several different monikers. To some, he is known as Kanellos, which is Greek for ‘Cinnamon’. To the authorities, he is Dog No. 1842, but now that he has gained national fame, Sausage is the name to have stuck. Anna Makri, who heads up the city’s stray animal service, calls him “lovable, but hot blooded”. She should know – she was once sued because the little tinker bit somebody.
Athens has a surprisingly progressive stance on stray dogs. Rather than putting them down, they are tagged and neutered before being allowed free. The city pays to feed thousands of stray dogs and each pooch has a dog collar which displays a number to ring should it get into trouble.
Speaking to Reuters, Makri said:
“In most European countries, they solve this problem with euthanasia. But Greek culture is against that. Our law is about rehabilitating the dogs.”
Due to the financial problems gripping the country, the program was in danger of cancellation. Luckily for Sausage and other dogs like him, it has been reinstated.
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