2014 in Kefalonia started with a bang, in late January we had a large earthquake which caused considerable damage to homes, businesses, roads and the port in Lixouri, this was followed by another large quake one week later and over a three week period over 3,000 quakes were recorded. Many homes were destroyed and a state of emergency was declared. People were living in cars, tents and many were sleeping on a cruise ship and ferry which were brought in to provide temporary accommodation. Many people fled the island joining friends and relatives on the mainland leaving behind their animals. We started to receive calls about the many animals in need of food and care, the luckier ones had at least been set free giving them a chance. Lorry loads of food and water were transported via the ferry to alleviate the suffering of the people who were without sanitation, homes or money as the banks were too badly damaged to open. The road to the Paliki peninsula was destroyed and ferry was the only means to get to that area.
Kefalonia Animal Trust immediately placed an order for dog and cat food, and with the generosity of supporters we managed to purchase 2,000 kilos. For 6 weeks we travelled on the ferry three times a week to hand out this food which was gratefully received, not just by the strays but by kind people feeding the animals in various villages. As many of the dogs that we could get were also taken and neutered with several lucky ones being adopted by the local people who we met on the food runs. To give an example of what it was really like, I was desperate for the loo when we arrived one day, thought right, go for a coffee and use theirs, ordered coffee and asked where bathroom was.....I was told 'no toilets working anywhere' you have to wait for ferry to come in and use theirs then come back and finish your coffee.
By mid April things settled into a more normal routine for us with neutering taking priority, and over the year, with the help of three volunteer vets, grants from GAR, CARAT and Gaia Dogs (Holland) plus our own fundraising we managed to neuter a total of 627 animals, spending a total of 33,030.88€ on vet fees, with the majority of these being for Greek owners. Fiskardo has had huge cat problems for a long time, GAR and some of their supporters who had been on holiday and seen the problem gave a generous grant enabling 7 female dogs, 2 male dogs, 18 female cats and 14 male cats to be neutered and October saw a volunteer vet come on holiday and neuter a further 32 female cats and 24 male cats with KAT providing the necessary drugs. Animal Rescue Kefalonia (ARK) is the other charity group on the island they provide shelter accommodation for as many as 350 dogs and many cats. We work together as much as possible with KAT paying for the neutering and fostering dogs being adopted into Holland, 100 went last year with the support of Gaia Dogs who find adoptive families for the dogs. We are very fortunate in having two charity shops, one open all year round and the other open in the winter months this has enabled us to increase the number of animals neutered. Our gratitude goes to all our supporters and the grants we have received. The Dimos recently gave us a building and the permits to use for volunteer vets, it needs work to make it usable which is another project we have running at the moment. The demand for neuters is increasing year on year so we expect to work even harder this year to achieve our aims.
Our best neutering year ever, a total of 627 animals neutered we spent in excess of €33,000, thanks to the hard work of our fundraisers here on the island and our fantastic supporters a lot of whom donate regularly.
120 female dogs, 43 male dogs, 324 female cats and 140 male cats. Many of the cats were neutered by volunteer vets, these kind people give up their time to come and work here, and we really work them...very grateful to them all.