The Santorini Animal Welfare Association is a non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1993 by active and devoted animal lovers of the island. Its purpose is to protect Santorini’s animals - from stray dogs and cats to abandoned donkeys and mules- to care for their wellbeing and become an advocate for their rights.
Stray Dog Management Program
In cooperation with the Municipality of Thira and our local Vet, SAWA insures that many of the island’s stray dogs are neutered and spayed, vaccinated and de-wormed. Following recovery, the dogs are then released back in their original locations. Dogs not fit to live on the streets are taken into SAWA’s shelter and cared for by volunteers until a good home can be found for them in Greece or abroad. Unfortunately the shelter can only accommodate a few dogs at a time. If you are interested in adopting a stray dog from Santorini please note that it is necessary to make all arrangements before your departure, as it is impossible for them to fly from the island unescorted. Our Association is willing to assist you with this procedure. You can also visit our sister organization in Germany at www.tierschutzverein-santorini.de In addition SAWA, in cooperation with our local Vet, assists with the treatment and recovery of stray animals suffering from injury, poisoning or disease, while volunteer members provide food and water for the street animals in various locations on the island.
The Vet Clinic generously undertakes the spaying and neutering of stray cats at a special price. Again, adoption is possible, provided that all of the arrangements are made before your departure.
Equine Management Program
In a joint effort between the Municipality of Thira and the Donkey Sanctuary Organization of Great Britain, SAWA oversees the implementation of the “Code of Practice” for all Working Equines. Furthermore, SAWA participates in the recording and health inspections for the licensing of working donkeys and mules, and assists the visiting teams of vets, equine dentists, and farriers with their treatments. Volunteer members of SAWA undertake the daily care of aged donkeys and mules that have retired from their long working days and are enjoying life at the Donkey Refuge in Karterados.
Informing the public about how to become more responsible owners, for all animals, is the first step in confronting issues of abandonment and abuse. Through various events and informational materials, SAWA promotes the importance of spaying and neutering, as well as providing more than just food, water and shelter to pets and working animals. Nevertheless, the road is long and difficult… SAWA relies entirely on donations and subscription fees in order to continue its work. So, you too can contribute and make life for our animal friends a bit easier!