Sausage the Greek Riot Dog – While the Greek economy comes apart at the seems, most dogs still prefer to leave the drama to humans. All, that is, except “Sausage the riot dog.”
Sausage (or “Loukanikos”) has been a part of every protest in Syntagma Square (central Athens) for years now, and has become a celebrity in Greece and abroad. When people took to the street yesterday to protest the latest government cuts, Sausage was at the front lines again, barking at police, and disrupting their attempts to hit protesters with batons.
Interestingly, although Greeks are up to their necks in economic problems, they still serve as an inspiration to much of the world in their handling of stray dogs. In Greece, stray dogs are not euthanized, or left to rot in tiny city kennels. They are neutered, given vaccines, and even microchipped. All 2000 or so of them wear collars and tags, making them easy to identify.
After such humane treatment, it is fitting that a stray dog like Sausage has become a symbol of freedom in Greece. Let’s hope that Athen’s financial crisis doesn’t lead to an end to their inspirational stray dog program*
Update: I see evidence that the program might not be as successful as I had initially heard. It looks like Greece has their share of problems with stray dogs, and cruelty against them from city residents. Maybe dogs like Sausage will help them gain respect.