One man has taken it upon himself to rescue hundreds of dogs who have been abandoned.
Theoklitos Proestakis, known locally as Takis, runs a shelter in the south of Crete and has saved more than 200 dogs over the last three years.
Takis, a former dentist, has given up everything to care for the dogs after he found himself “stunned” by the suffering the animals were going through in his town of Lerapetra.
At the moment he has over 150 dogs in his care.
Speaking to the MailOnline, he said: “I am absolutely alone here at the shelter. I have no money, I had to sell my car, I had to sell my caravan, I have nothing. I had to borrow money.
“I was ready to sell it a few months ago, because I couldn’t see how I could carry on.”
He said local authorities are both “unable and unwilling” to help fund the shelter. It costs Takis €1,300 (£957) a month to feed all of the dogs, and an extra €700 (£515) for vets bills. He cites the high costs surrounding feeding and treating a dog as the main reason people are abandoning their pets.
Explaining why he decided to set up the shelter, he said: “One day I went to the rubbish dump and I saw horrible and crazy things there.
“There were so many dogs, and they had broken legs, they were starving, they were so skinny and so sick and dying. It horrified me.
“I just wanted to help them. So I started looking after them, taking them food and water and I was so happy when I saw they started to get stronger.
“But the people who live in the neighbourhood started to get really angry with me, and telling me they were going to kill the dogs because they were becoming a nuisance. So I started the shelter as somewhere safe where I could keep them.”
Over the last three years, the shelter has survived mostly on funds from his own pocket and donations from people in America and other countries in Europe.
Takis works seven day weeks and, when he returns to his own home, he posts pictures of his dogs online in an attempt to find them homes. So far he has managed to rehome around 40 dogs.
Many of the dogs he takes in have been beaten, starved, or mistreated by their owners before being abandoned.
This proved to be the turning point for Takis and his shelter. After posting pictures of dogs and their her recovery online, people began to send donations: “People have seen the pictures and want to help. I still have my shelter, and now I have hope.”
Over €10,000 (£7300) has been donated to the fundraising site Takis set up, allowing him to purchase a car so he can take his dogs to the vet and the airport if they have been rehomed abroad.
“This is my life,” Takis added, “it’s difficult but I love it. I work so hard here but when I see the dogs happy and enjoying themselves and learning to trust people again then it’s all worth it.”