History of Our Organization
Beginning around 1997, an informal group of individuals started to work together in an effort to improve the lives of animals on Karpathos.
By the year 2000, these same people realized that feeding strays or relocating a few to forever homes elsewhere did not solve the problem on the island — in many ways, it ended up exacerbating it. The first to spring into action to find a solution was Rita Weber (sadly she returned to Germany in 2003) who had contacts with a German animal welfare organization and managed to get a group of vets (including Dr. Martina Greve and Carsten Ritter) to do a spay and neuter campaign in May 2000.
The first legally established animal welfare group on the island was registered in 2002 and called 'Animal Friends Karpathos' and in Greek “Φίλοι των Ζώων-Κάρπαθος”. This organization was the product of the determination of: Alf B. Meier, Nikos Alexiou, Angelika Frangos, Rita Weber, Fred Baade, and vet Dr. Martina Greve. The initial elected officials were Vena Kamaratos, Margarita Alexiou and Patricia Moser. Many of our current board members and volunteers played an active role in the foundation of this group.
They were able to set up the “Animal Welfare Clinic” in the Konaki area of Pigadia (the island's capital). Wholly funded by donations, it treated all kinds of injured animals, and strove to alleviate the animal population problem by neutering and spaying stray animals.
This organization worked hard to try to control the stray animal population and to improve the health of all animals on Karpathos — not just cats and dogs. It was only been able to succeed with the help of a network of dedicated people, both locally and internationally. Sadly, the clinic ended up closing its doors in 2017, when Alf and his wife moved to the USA.
Alf recalls the year when a big change happened at the clinic where he was Veterinary Services Supervisor:
“In 2005 it was also decided to accept interns that could assist me with the day to day operations of the clinic (against my recommendations!). The story was pretty funny. One day a gentleman showed up at the clinic with a cat that could not swallow and in about 5 minutes I had the right diagnosis and was getting the steroids ready for the animal. The man identified himself as one of the Veterinary Profs. of the Thessaloniki university and somehow used to come to Othos for his vacations. He asked me if I would also train students in internships. I said no, I had enough problems. The Prof evidently did not accept no for an answer and went to the Board. The board said yes.... After that he came back a few years with his cat, always saying something along the lines of: "I could have gone to a vet in Thessaloniki but as I know that you are so much better I waited until I got here."
Meanwhile, all the volunteers continued operating from the Facebook platform which was labeled as 'Animal Welfare Karpathos'. In addition, the volunteers continued to rescue and send animals for adoptions and never stopped lending a hand to any animal in need.
A year of planning, networking and filing the necessary legal groundwork led to the creation to our not-for-profit, Animal Welfare Karpathos (AWK) which was legally registered in August, 2020. Our name was inspired by the Facebook page name which was being maintained by one of our board members, Angelika Frangos.
Driven by the dedicated efforts of Dr. Anna Katogiritis, DVM (who was an active volunteer of Animal Friends Karpathos and its clinic since 2005) with the passionate support of the members of the Board listed on the Who we Are page and utilizing the vast network of the support garnered by the Facebook group - we were able to lay the foundation of our non-for-profit organization which requires us to follow the highest of standards.
Our primary goal is to marry an active team of volunteers on the ground that can partner with people around the globe. This will enable us to create a sustainable organization that will continue to support the improvement of animal welfare on the island.
Animal Welfare Karpathos
moves forward into a new and brighter future for animals on Karpathos
“The question is not, can they reason?, nor can they talk? but, can they suffer?”
- Jeremy Bentham