The obligation of pet owners to sterilization of their pet or sending a DNA sample to a special laboratory is heading towards implementation as, two years after the passing of the relevant law, the prerequisite procedures are being completed.

Current legislation obliges the owner of a dog or cat to choose between sterilization or sending the animal’s genetic material to the Laboratory for the Storage and Analysis of Genetic Material for Companion Animals (EFAGYZS) of the Medical Biological Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (IIBEAA).

The measure has remained “frozen” since 2021, when the law on the well-being of companion animals was passed, pending the creation of the National Register of Companion Animals (EMZS) and the EFAGYZS, whose operation will be interconnected.

Now both the laboratory and four of the seven sub-registries of the EMZS are ready, and after the resolution of technical issues and the completion of the efficiency and interoperability tests, their official opening is expected in November, reported APE-MPE special secretary for the Protection of Companion Animals of the Ministry of the Interior, Marianthi Dimopoulou.

Within the framework of the EMZS, the online database for the registration of dogs and cats and their owners, the registry of pet shelters, the registry of charitable associations and organizations, the registry and monitoring of companion animals and the project management subsystem will be put into production within the month local Authorities. The registers have been presented to the interested parties, while at the same time online trainings of the country’s municipalities on the management of strays have started.

The owner’s obligation to sterilize the dominant companion animal or to send a sample of genetic material begins after one month has passed since the start of operation of the EFAGYZS.

Sterilization takes place within six months of acquiring the animal if it is over one year old. In the case of acquiring an animal under one year of age, sterilization takes place within the first six months from the completion of the first year. The deadline may vary depending on the animal’s breed and other special characteristics, after a thorough veterinary opinion.

Those who do not wish to sterilize their pets are obliged to send a sample of their animal’s genetic material to EFAGYZS. The collection and sending of the sample is done exclusively by a veterinarian, a member of the Panhellenic Veterinary Association, who has a license to practice the profession of the Geotechnical Chamber of Greece and is a certified user of EMZS.

For the procedure, a one-time electronic fee of 150 euros for each animal is paid through, which is delivered printed to the veterinarian, as well as up to 10 euros for the costs of receiving and sending the material. No fee is paid for dogs intended exclusively for guarding flocks (shepherds). The owner is obliged to pay the veterinarian an amount of up to 10 euros for the shipping costs of the genetic material sample.

The process of receiving and sending a DNA sample is carried out free of charge in the municipal veterinary clinics or in the specially designed areas of the municipalities, inter-municipal centers and veterinary services of the regions of the country or to veterinary service providers contracted with the municipality, in accordance with the terms of the contract between them , without requiring the payment of the fee.

Owners who do not proceed with one of the two actions (sterilization or sending genetic material) are subject to a fine of 1,000 euros, which is re-imposed after three months if there is no compliance.

The Laboratory of the Academy of Athens will maintain in a database the genetic material of the sterilized animals for 12 years, so that if abandoned, abused or dead animals are identified, their guardians can be identified and through them the competent bodies (EL.AS., municipal police etc. .etc.) to be taken to their owners for the penalties prescribed in each case.