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  • Useful Animal Welfare Contacts! Χρήσιμα στοιχεία επικοινωνίας!

  • Lost a Dog?

    1. Notify http://www.himaira.gr/

    2. Notify http://www.hva.gr/index.php?topic=lost

    3. Advertise in pet shops, veterinary surgeries and newspapers.

    4. Notify your surrounding municipalities.
  • Found A Dog?

    1. Check http://www.hva.gr/index.php?topic=lost

    2. Notify http://www.himaira.gr/

    3. Advertise in pet shops, veterinary surgeries and newspapers.

    4. Contact your local municipality (strays / unwanted dogs are their responsibility since the issue of Law 3170/03 voted in Summer 2003)

    5. Should your municipality fail to take action, please make a written statement at your nearest police department.
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  • Promote respect for animal life and the environment.
  • Support actions to control animal reproduction.
  • We work for animal welfare in the production of animals for human consumption in order to diminish their suffering during upbringing, transport, and slaughter.
  • Care for Working Equines and educate their owners on animal husbandry…




The Cretan Animal Welfare Group (CAWG) was established and registered in 1995 to provide care for animals in need.

CAWG’s Vision is  “A world in which animals and the environment are respected and protected”.

Since 2003 stray dogs are, by law, the responsibility of the municipalities and this has contributed to CAWG’s Mission changing to improve the status and welfare of animals through:

  • Advocacy – to inspire social change
  • Education – to create an awareness of the interconnection between humans, animals and the environment
  • Projects – that contribute to sustainable change.

Ways of Working:

Committed, Caring, Cooperative, Educative, Honest, Professional


The ethical basis for CAWG’s policies is that it looks beyond the conservation of a species to the welfare of individual animals. It is CAWG’s belief that each individual has an intrinsic value, and should be respected and protected.

Animals have biologically determined instincts, interests and natures, and can experience pain. Thus CAWG believes that animals have the right to live their lives free from avoidable suffering at the hands of humans, rather than be used simply as ‘raw materials’ for the benefit of mankind. Indeed, CAWG believes that it is the duty of humans to provide for the welfare of other species.

CAWG believes that all animals kept by, or under the control of, humans must be kept in circumstances appropriate to their species. Further, where the physiological and behavioural needs of a species cannot be met, the species must not be kept by man.

CAWG believes that where the welfare of an animal under human control is in question, then the animal must be given the benefit of any doubt. Furthermore, the different purposes for which animals are used must be regularly re-evaluated.


Our Committee:

Kerenza Vlastou CHES (GR/GB) – President of CAWG – Former European Member Societies Officer at WSPA

Gayner Vlastou BEd (GB) – Vice President of CAWG – former teacher for special needs teenagers

Rebecca Jacobs (NL) – Secretary of CAWG – physiotherapist

Michael Wilson (GB) – Treasurer of CAWG – businessman

Margaret Clurow (GB) – committee member – retired

Georgia Nikolidaki (GR/GB) – committee member – private employee

Marcel Van Der Molen (NL) – committee member – Marketing expert


We would like to thank for their ongoing support:

  • All of our volunteers for tirelessly offering their souls
  • The World Society for the Protection of Animals (W.S.P.A.)
  • The Greek Animal Welfare Fund (G.A.W.F.)
  • Greek Animal Rescue (G.A.R.)
  • Sue Silk, our devoted UK treasurer and fundraiser
  • Our vet, Andreas Badouvas, for his valuable work and patience
  • Our generous sponsors of the Subsidised Neutering for Owned Dogs Project
  • Cretan Donkey Care / Ezelopvang Kreta and Diana for her personal initiative to help us, our and so many other donkeys


55 Responses

  1. Hi Shirley!
    Kournas Lake is situated between Rethymnon and Hania so it would either have been The Rethymnon Friends of the Animals who helped or Silke who does rescue work in Hania.
    If you wish for the contact details of the individuals, please contact us via email.
    Thank you and we hope that the little dog was helped!

  2. I don’t know if I have the right contact. Last March I was in Crete in the village of Kournas where I saw a golden coloured dog (similar to Golden Retriever but smaller) with a limp. The dog was very friendly. An acquaintance who lives in Kournas telephoned an animal sanctuary who said they did not have room for the dog but would probably have room later.

    I do not know the animal rescue she telephoned and I have since lost touch with her so I do not know if this lovely dog was rescued. I would be grateful if you or someone could make enquiries for me.

    I live in England and am an animal lover but am not in a position to have a dog. I just wish to know if this dog was ever rescued. I do hope you can find out for me. Thank you.

    Kind regards
    Shirley Nicholas

  3. Hi Gemma! thank you for contacting us and we hope we are not too late in replying… It would be best for you to check on the Defra website (http://www.defra.gov.uk/) for all the necessary papers your little dog needs to have (passport, vaccines, mc etc.) and then contact Ladyhaye who control all direct pet travel from here to UK (http://www.petravelagent.com/). If you are considering going via another EU country, please email us for more information info@CretanAnimalWelfare.org

  4. Hi there I am looking to fly back to uk end of October begining of November with my small dog and i am having trouble finding an airline I was hoping you could suggest an airline i could use Would prefer a direct flight from Heraklion to London Heathrow or Gatwick

  5. Reply coming by email asap!

  6. Hi gayner,
    I contacted you before and you asked me to leave a message here. So my following problem is that I am moving to holland in september and want to take my dog with me. It is very hard to find big transportboxes here for him. He is a full grown dobermann and I was hoping if you have big boxes either to rent out or to sell? Many thanks in advance and hope to hear from you soon.
    Greetings chiara

  7. Hello, I wanted to tell you, that Pim, the cat, lives at my place. We first were a foster home for him, from Mirtos, but he is such a lovely cat, friends with everybody, that we decided that we want Pim to stay at our home. And we love him very much, but he didn´t learn many from the car accident, because he isn´t afraid of cars. He walks outside, since a month or so and he loves it very much, we had a dog for a while, to foster, and he played outside with him. And he with with you when we are walking outside, but it scares us, because he goes to far from home. Also when he is alone. We hope there is an angel, who walks with him, because I´m afraid someday he will meet a car again. In my neighboorhoud aren´t many cars, so I`m glad, and he is so happy outside, I don´t want to only leave him inside, because than he would be unhappy.But he is so lovely, his leg is better, he klims in trees, we have to remove the pen inside, but he runs very good and nobody sees that it had been broken. He sits very strange, with one leg hanging. It looks crazy. But we want to thank you for the care of Pim, he is so sweet and beautiful, we are very happy with him and we hope that he will live very long with us.Thanks a lot.Els Weijde

  8. Dear supporter,
    I am indeed very sorry that your comment was not replied to. I was under the impression it had been addressed but when I looked back, you are correct, no reply was sent via email.
    Please understand that we are a small volunteer only NGO and there is always too much work for the manpower available.
    Thank you for contacting us and caring for the stray animals of Crete.
    I’m afraid that rescue is now only a small part of CAWG’s work with our focus mainly on preventative methods (neutering, education etc.) and helping species which other societies have neglected (donkeys, farm animals, wildlife etc.).
    Our rescue policy allows us to help companion animals only when they are sick/injured (ie. unable to survive) from our area (Malia-Heraklion) and only when we have an available foster home.
    I’m very sorry but we do not have the means to reach a village the other side of the island and begin work there. The parts of our NGO that are Crete-wide are the Humane Education and Campaigns which happen through other NGOs we cooperate with on the island.
    Please, if you have any more questions or concerns, do contact us.
    Thank you for your understanding…

  9. Hi. I left you a note on the 18th of October and you promised me to reply on email. I still havent heard from you organisation, and I must admit I find this a bit dissapointing. Please reply – if not for me then for the poor animals in the village of Polyrhinia. I really hope, that you have done some kind of follow up in regards to my first post, and that the lack of reply is due to a simple mistake. The animals are suffering an I am afraid, that if nothing have been done until now, they are probably dead by now. I am looking forward to your answer.

  10. Hi!
    I’m afraid we haven’t visited these kennels but we are aware of:
    a. Frieda Richards 6972316892
    b. http://www.cretekennels.com
    c. http://www.kissamos-cats.com/index.html (not sure whether they have contacts with kennels for dogs too)
    d. Sarah 6947594376

  11. Hi I will be moving to Crete in February. I will be in the Chania area. I am bringing my dog with me and was wondering if there are any dog kennels in the area.

  12. dear kerenza. i wish all off you a very merry x-mas,and a lott of love,happynes,and health for 2010. xx wilma,and smokey

  13. Hi Angela!
    thank you for getting in touch and of course we can provide more information. The subsidised neutering project for owned dogs offers the owner a 50% subsidy on the neutering costs and free microchip and registration, according to Law 3170/03.
    This means that the owner pays 125 EUR for a female and 75 EUR for a male!
    You can call 6993023797 for more information
    OR the vet (Mr. Badouvas) 2810 317 870 to book an appointment!

  14. hi i living in hersonissos
    and like to have some info about your neutering program
    i have male dog
    and i heard that your have a program for 50 procent dicount
    can you please tell my more about

  15. Thank you for your supporting comments and regarding the animals in the area and your concerns, we will reply by email!

  16. Hi CAWG
    Our family just return from a vacation in the wonderful Crete – A beautiful ireland populated with nice people. We visited the small village of Polyrrinia which at first glance is a very romantic small authentic greek village, but we was choked by how the animals is treated in this village.
    We have heard that Greece have a new and improved animal rights legislation and we hope that someone will take action and help these poor defenseless creatures.
    We are member of WSPA and will also address the issue in this organisation.
    P.S. We just found you on the WEB and hope that you can help us – Keep up your good work, the animals in Crete needs you.

  17. Hi Laura!
    thank you for your kindness and will to help animals during your holidays! However, we no longer have many animals and they are in foster homes. The help we need is mostly for office based work or raising public awareness. If you are interested in this please email us (info@CretanAnimalWelfare.org) your CV and some info about yourself. If you would rather volunteer with a society dealing with cats, please google Cretan Cat A List and Voice of the Cats Alliance, Crete.
    Thank you once again!

  18. Hi, I have been visiting rhodes every year for approx 8 years now always voulenteering at RAWS when i go. Am thinking on maybe comming to Crete this september and just wondered if i could help you guys out in any way. I cant relax on a beach anymore- have to be doing something! Please see my website also http://www.catsofkalithea.org
    Hope to hear from you soon,

  19. Thank you so much for all your support and looking forward to seeing you soon at the reunion!!!

  20. hallo,dear kerenza,diana gave me homewerk. haha.i hope that my boss allows us to donations on 3 okt. Well and if not,we only can hope that we wake up the people,by letting them know what happens to the animals.2 of our clients where coming to crete,1 a month ago,and 1 a week ago.I asked them to visite you,and asked them to take some animals back to holland. Well i don’t know if they did this,but it is wurth trying. Hope to see you and your mum at the reunion

  21. I have replied via email, thank you

  22. sorry
    i seem to have directed my enquiry to the wrong part of your website
    please redirect and remove
    peter rolph

  23. Terrible to see, the state of the horses. Not only for donkeys is much to do.

    This people are not worth to have this horses.

    Greetings Diana

  24. Thank you or this information, we also received via email.

  25. Hi,
    I’ve been visiting the horse riding stables in Georgioupolis, Crete for the past few months and am shocked at the state of their horses and the uncaring actions of the owners, they talk knowledgeably but do nothing. A video on you tube has been posted that shows the state of affairs at this profitable business.

  26. Hi Wilma!

    Thank you for the interest!

    Twiggy was with us from a very young age and nothing traumatic happened to her, she was just naturally a shy and wary dog. Tzoulis was a hunting dog, lost and found clapsed outside the local bakery. He was in a poor state, mainly due to his age and ill health. The owner was found but was too busy to come and take the dog before the end of the season…

    Let me know if you need more info

  27. dear kerenza how are you. I have a question.Before diana and i will have the stand from the haven at my work,i want too know things about the animals. For a example let us take tzoulis.Where did they find him,what have they done too him,And twiggy,why is he/she so afraid. I want too tell people everything about the haven”s animals. Love wilma,from a wet and rainy holland

  28. oeps,sorry diana will bring the next time the leafblower to you

  29. now i am getting emotionel dear kerenza. I am very happy to help!! Was the leafblower allso oke?? It goes better,and faster i think. Meanwhile i have new towels,cd’s and books for you.Tell your mum that i am very happy that she trusted me with smokey,and it is for me the biggest compliment coming from her that smokey is a beautyful and big dog. If i am lucky diana will take me with her to the reunion in september, so i can see you and your mum. But i will be crying i tell you that,oh well that’s me!!! a big hugg to all of you

  30. No, thank YOU!! It means a lot more to the animals and to us, believe me! Everything is ok, we didn’t even feel the earthquake on the North coast, no worries. Thank you once again for all the help!

  31. thank you!!! I am collecting more things for the animals from mij college’s and other people. Towels ,toys ,books etc,etc. It means a lot to me to, for helping the animals. I mis crete everyday!!! Is everything oke ??? I heard about the earthquake. Love from me and smokey

  32. Dear Suzanna,

    first of all thank you very much for your kindness and care for the animals in need. It is always nice to know people do not forget about them after their return home.

    I’m afraid that we cannot help as rescue is only a very small part of our work and therefore doesn’t extend island-wide… However, here are some contact details for societies in the Rethymnon area that may be able to help you or at least find someone else to help:

    I hope these help you and of course, the animals…

    Should you wish to express your concerns to the Ministry and authorities, please do so through the Petition on our home page, The Minister of Agriculture, Mr.Hatzigakis info@minagric.gr and the local Rethymnon Municipalities.

    I wish you all the best and once again, thank you for contacting us.

    Kindest regards,
    Kerenza Vlastou

  33. Hi
    I have just come back from holiday in Georgioupoli. I am concerned for a black male cat there who paid our table a visit at the Valentino Restaurant. He has some kind of skin problem and his wounds (especially on his head and ears) look like they could be down to the bone. One in particular was very fleshy and bloody. I was surprised to find the other cats in the village in good condition. I had been taking them some cat food daily and on our last night this poor black one appeared. Is there anyone that can help him? I feel bad for having to leave him like it!

  34. Dear Cathie,
    thank you so much for the help you provided to the animals here!
    Stu hasn’t yet enrolled the boxer with our SNP, she could be spayed while pregnant, however, this is a decision the owner must make as there are higher risks.
    Please be aware when feeding stray animals (unless they are extremely hungry) that by doing so, you may increase their fertility, therefore helping them produce more and healthier kittens/puppies… I know it is hard to avoid:-)
    Thank you once again for your kind support!

  35. I mean I will give them your greetings:-)
    No worries, your English is better than my Dutch!
    Thank you so much for your help for the animals, it means more than you can imagine!

  36. HI, I e/m’d CAWG on 31/5 before my wondeful 2 week holiday in Gouves started on 2 June. I wanted to know if i could donate funds there or provide food for a cat cafe.

    Well, as luck would have it, at the apartments we stayed at, I met Stu, an Englishman who has lived in Crete for 2 years ande worked at the apatments. Stu works hard to help both dogs and cats on the island. My partner and I gave him enough money to take a local (pregnant) stray boxer bitch to Malia to be spayed ind innoculated, once she had had her pups.

    I also took dog food, that Stu gave me, everywhere we went in case I saw a hungry dog (and I had cat food for the kitties).

    I was so happy to have done something to make a real difference to the life of one lovely dog and hopefully give her a real future.

    I send my regards and love to your all over in Crete for the wonderful work you do.

    Cathie x

  37. i don’t know what you mean with passing on the regards.My inglish is not so good as it seems!! Diana brings allso some treats for the animals.Diana and i are allowed ,from my boss,to get a stand for the haven on 3 okt this year,at my work.I hope that we can get things or money for the animals from the haven.i allso have eat-and drink ?.So you see my inglish is not so good

  38. Dear Wilma,
    I will pass on the regards, thank you!
    Thank you for all the help and towels etc! Even though we now work through foster homes, we do need to provide people with the same materials as when we had the shelter, so these are always useful!
    The Greek people are improving, adopting also strays, neutering more, calling me all the time to see even if they can pay towards neutering strays in their neighborhood and they visit the vet much more now!
    All the best to you and Smokey!!!
    Kerenza x

  39. dear kerenza,thank you for your mail. Next month diana and her husband will come again too crete. She will bring about 31 towels for the animals,who i collected from some colleg’s of mine,and the transport bags are from me. give mij love too mum and michalis. And i hope too see them next year. I allso hope that the greek people will be better for the animalsand iff not,were are the sick and stray animals go too then?? Tell mum that smokey is grown into a wonderfull,and happy dog. I am happy that she is with me

  40. Hi Brenda!
    Thank you for getting in touch!
    I’m afraid we have no idea about the tumour but we haven’t had anything like that happen to other animals.
    I have spent time in the UK and with volunteers from Cats Protection, so understand your frustration… we can only hope things will improve…
    All the best to you and Minnie and thank you for offering a little cat a loving home!

  41. Hi Wilma!
    thank you for the positive feedback!
    I’m afraid that the Haven will soon return to being only a foster home for the 4 donkeys and 2-3 other dogs as Gayner now wishes to spend more time with her own animals and family.
    However, we always need help in our preventative work too, with children, endorsing neutering and catching cats!
    Just let us know when you are ready to come back!

  42. last year i was at krete,and i helpt at the haven malia. Gayner,her husband ,and all the other people took very good care for the animals. My dog smokey comes from the haven.I hope that i can go too krete this year again.And offcourse i will help again there. I wish that the greek people will see that there are other ways too take care off the animals ,insted of killing and poisoning them

  43. Hi Everyone
    Thank you for sending me your website – it is very interesting to see how you are doing.
    We rescued a cat from Crete a couple of years ago. She is happy, but sadly she has many allergies -ie house dust, tree pollen, grass pollen etc. She also had to have a small tumour removed on her face.
    Having said all that, she is adorable and has settled very well, although she can be a bit of a Mediterranean Drama Queen!! Our other rescued farm cats dont always know what to make of her.
    Anyway, wishing you all the best. I wish I could support you more, but my daughter and I do work for the Cats Protection in England and are proud that we have rescued many cats and kittens in this area where sadly the farmers still do not have their cats neutered.

  44. Hi Julia!
    I’m afraid the link opens up a German EU doc for us but will research and look into it! thank you for bringing it to our attention!

  45. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, I think our readers will be interested in knowing this info!

  46. Are you and your colleagues/supporters aware of this written declaration?
    Time is running out but could you please all write and ask the Greek MEPs (or other nationalities, we have been emailing everyone we can!) to sign this? There is also a petition linked to it.
    Hope you can all help us with this.

  47. Just wanted to say how great it is that people are sharing ideas and views!

  48. Hi Els, I am a great advocate of keeping cats indoors. I do realize that this policy and practice varies from country to country. In the US, for example, our adopters have to keep cats indoors or they cannot adopt. a cat. There are too many dangers outside–cars, antifreeze in winter, dogs, etc. But I have a friend in Holland who lets her cats out in her garden every day and they are fine. Of course, she lives out in the country, far from a city. I do hope that you will try to keep your Pim inside more of the time. He will grow to be okay being inside!.Or maybe I just hope so!

  49. Hi Els!
    thank you for letting us know! It’s so lovely to hear from the loving families of our adopted animals:-)
    Pim is a great example of an animal that recovered well even with a pin in his leg!
    All the best to you both!

  50. Hello, I wanted to tell you, that Pim, the cat, lives at my place. We first were a foster home for him, from Mirtos, but he is such a lovely cat, friends with everybody, that we decided that we want Pim to stay at our home. And we love him very much, but he didn´t learn many from the car accident, because he isn´t afraid of cars. He walks outside, since a month or so and he loves it very much, we had a dog for a while, to foster, and he played outside with him. And he with with you when we are walking outside, but it scares us, because he goes to far from home. Also when he is alone. We hope there is an angel, who walks with him, because I´m afraid someday he will meet a car again. In my neighboorhoud aren´t many cars, so I`m glad, and he is so happy outside, I don´t want to only leave him inside, because than he would be unhappy.
    But he is so lovely, his leg is better, he klims in trees, we have to remove the pen inside, but he runs very good and nobody sees that it had been broken. He sits very strange, with one leg hanging. It looks crazy. But we want to thank you for the care of Pim, he is so sweet and beautiful, we are very happy with him and we hope that he will live very long with us.
    Thanks a lot.
    Els Weijde

  51. There is a link to the Athens News page but as that is a bit out of date I will email you any contacts I have!

  52. Kerenza, I may have already asked you this. Is the list of animal groups on Crete on this website? I have found it before, but that may have been the pre-wordpress site. I need your list, if you’d be willing to share it.


  53. Hi Vicky!
    thank you for your interest! I will email you privately regarding the above!

  54. Hi, wonderful work you are doing. We are also trying to help the animals down in Agia Galini in the south with a similar group. How many dogs do you have waiting to be adopted and what is the situation about adopting one? Would it be possible to send me a list of dogs that you have? We are thinking of getting a dog ourselves but also for other people down here. Thanks – keep up the good work!


For inquiries please Email us at: info@CretanAnimalWelfare.org / info@FilozoikiKritis.gr

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