Athens, 10 November 2015
This press conference was held concerning the all-day conference on the topic “the cycle of violence: from animal abuse to family violence.”
Organizers of the all-day conference are the Ministry of Public Safety and the Greek Police, the PanHellenic Animal Protection Alliance, and the non-profit organization “Alliance for Greece.”
Secretary-General of Public Order, Dimitris Anagnostakis, and Chief of the Greek Police, Dimitrios Tsaknakis, were present.
The all-day conference is being held in cooperation with police authorities of Los Angeles, the Attorney General’s Office for the state of Virginia, and the foundation “Voice for the Animals.”
The press conference was held today, midday (11/10/15) in the hall “P. Bakoyannis” of the Ministry of Public Safety concerning the organization of the day-long conference on the topic of “the cycle of violence: from animal abuse to family violence” which will take place tomorrow at the Benaki Museum.
Organizers of the conference are the Ministry of Public Safety and the Greek Police, the PanHellenic Animal Protection Alliance, and the non-profit organization “Alliance for Greece.” The conference will take place in cooperation with police authorities of Los Angeles, the Attorney General’s Office for the state of Virginia, and the foundation “Voice for the Animals.”
At the press conference were the Secretary-General of Public Order, Dimitris Anagnostakis, and the Chief of the Greek Police, Lieutenant-General Dimitrios Tsaknakis. Also taking part were Irini Molfesi, President of the PanHellenic Animal ProtectionFederation, and Yorgos Kaloudis, General Director of the non-profit organization “Alliance for Greece.”
In addition, the following law officers spoke: Michelle Welch, Senior Prosecutor and Director of the Animal Cruelty Unit for the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Virginia, as well as Captain Kelly Muldorfer and Detective Hector Sanchez of the Los Angeles Police Department.
At the press conference Secretary General of Public Order, Dimitris Anagnostakis said the following:
Good afternoon, everyone.
Ladies and gentlemen, today is a special one for the Ministry of Public Safety and the Greek Police. The presence of our guests is an event that for us constitutes a particular honor since they will share with us their experience and expertise concerning a very troubling problem: the cycle of violence.
I want to thank our guests for their presence, to thank also you who had the idea for this conference and all the responsibility of organization. I heartily wish you every success.
The next to speak was Captain Kelly Mulldorfer of the LAPD who said:
Thank you very much. Good afternoon.
Certainly for me it is a very great honor to be invited to come here and to speak about a topic which is so important. With all the problems that we have in Los Angeles, you might ask why animal abuse matters so much to the LAPD. In 2005, however, we saw that there is a direct relationship between animal abuse and human violence. It is not so very difficult for this fine line to be breached and to proceed from abusing an animal to abusing people. So we began to investigate all the cases of abuse and cruel, violent treatment of animals, as well as cases of dog-fights and cock-fights, and repeatedly we have found that there are many, many parallel crimes—murders, sexual abuse of children, and many other violent crimes against people.
We believe, therefore, that at tomorrow’s conference we shall be able to share with you some of this special experience that we have concerning our investigations of such criminal practices. We hope to be able to help your system to adjust in such a way that cases of this type can be effectively prosecuted. We shall give you many details tomorrow about both cases and processes. Thanks to all of you for opening this dialog and for inviting us here to show you the problems which we too confront in our work every day.
At tomorrow’s conference there will be taking part the political and physical leadership of the Greek Police and its officers from the whole of Greece, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Speakers will be representatives from the LAPD and the Greek Police, representatives of the judicial authorities, academics, and other specialists in the field. There will be presented—for the first time in Europe—the conclusions which follow from the application of the law in the USA concerning the relationship of animal abuse with family violence and organized crime.
Next, the President of the PanHellenic Animal Protection Federation, Irini Molfesi, spoke:
Chief Tsaknakis, Secretary Aganostakis, ladies and gentlemen, we thank you very much for the honor which you have done us in welcoming our presence here today. I wish to say, as president of the PanHellenic Animal Protection Federation, as a person who loves animals, and as a mother, that people often ask me why I spend all my time engaged with animals and if I think that it is possible, let us say, for a country which is suffering economically to sit and occupy itself with the protection of animals.
I would like to answer such questions with the words of a great jurist in Brussels who said, “Show me a country where the protection of animals is low on the agenda and the people live well.” The matters which we, your guests from the LAPD and the Virginia Attorney-General’s Office, will present to you in tomorrow’s conference will shock you. It is the first time that they are being presented in Greece and they prove, unfortunately, the observation that where animals are abused, so also are people abused. The matters have been brought to light by the application of law in America and are the findings of the FBI. The situation is blacker than you imagine it. However, along with these matters, the LAPD and the Director of the Animal Cruelty Unit for the Attorney-General’s Office will share their experiences in how they have overcome these crimes.
I believe that tomorrow’s conference will be both useful and fertile and that we will all leave it with a wealth of information and ideas and will be better equipped to confront these phenomena. If we eliminate animal abuse, which is the precursor to the abuse of people, we have in essence helped our society also.
I wish to extend my thanks and do not want to take any more time; I would like, in fact, for the speakers to say much more. Nevertheless, I want to thank Minister Toskas, Secretary-General Aganostakis, and Chief Tsaknakis for the confidence that you have shown us, and of course, all the financial backers and the Alliance for Greece who supported this undertaking that we are bringing to reality today.
Next to speak was Yorgos Kaloudis, General Director of the non-profit organization “Alliance for Greece.”
Good afternoon from me as well. I shall be very brief because the time belongs to our guests. Two remarks only about the “Alliance”: It is a movement of the institutional sources of the branch of communication which began in 2010. We all wanted to become allies in order to help and to bring out the fine picture of Greece that we know, the fine businesses which we have in Greece and the fine organizations.
The axes of our action are culture, athletics, tourism, the environment, and volunteerism. Thus we have collaborated with President Molfesi and the PanHellenic Animal Protection Federation, and we have raised the consciousness of many, many companies. In the materials which you have in the folder given to you, you will see our numerous sources of funding.
I wish to mention that where we have knocked on doors and have spoken about the topic and have mentioned the Greek Police, namely that we are organizing the all-day conference with their cooperation, many people have embraced this initiative.
I am not saying this merely because I am a guest of Chief Tsaknakis and of Secretary-General Aganostakis, but because the community well recognizes your work, and we who are here today thank you.
For further information concerning the Alliance for Greece you have printed material. And again I thank Secretary-General Aganostakis and Chief Tsaknakis. And one last thing: We have collaborated marvelously with your officers, Chief. On all levels. They solved problems for us—we did create some problems for them. Please excuse us; the results will be worth it.
The Alliance for Greece offers its services free of charge to the Greek state so that, at a time of economic crisis, our country may obtain the greatest possible support and encouragement from the very widest branches of the Greek economic community. And we wish to assure you that all the expenses of the day-long conference will be covered by our own sources and will not cost the Greek public even one cent.
Thank you for your time.
The following speaker was the Chief of the Greek Police, Lieutenant-General Dimitrios Tsaknakis:
Good afternoon, all, Director Kaloudis, President Molfesi, guests:
The Headquarters of the Greek Police well recognizes that the topic of animal abuse and neglect constitutes an exceptionally serious problem. It is also clear that, even beyond the criminal parameters, it negatively affects and distorts the international picture of our country and provokes our citizens’ justifiable reactions because acts of animal abuse are certainly acts of barbarism and lack of rudimentary conscience. Therefore, our leadership has given clear directions, commands, and instructions to the appropriate regional services.
These commands are the following: When an individual or an animal protection agency or body has presented information which has to do with the abuse or death of an animal, that information must be examined at once with the necessary care.
On a higher level, the appropriate Commander at Headquarters in the past, but also recently, has issued clear and explicit orders. These orders are accompanied with both the laws in effect and the correct procedures to be followed in order to deal with said instances of animal abuse or death.
In addition, the Headquarters of the Greek Police, seeing that it covers the needs of the existing regional services, has been asked by the appropriate Director of the suitable Ministry for investigators who are to discover the friends or acquaintances of the owners of stray animals. These investigators are to search the net to check for health records or licenses and, generally, for the application of the body of laws in force.
In other words, the Greek Police will be of assistance in every endeavor of every association or group. And with these thoughts, since animal abuse—as President Molfesi has said—is related to, is the precursor of abuse of people, I am hopeful that in tomorrow’s conference we shall give many answer to various topics.
Thank you very much.
The next to speak was Michelle Welch, State Attorney and Director of the Animal Cruelty Unit for the Attorney General’s Office for the state of Virginia:
Good afternoon. I am Michelle Welch from the Attorney General’s Office of Virginia. In my career I have spoken many times before police organizations on many cases which have been prosecuted for animal abuse, dog-fighting, cock-fighting, etc. During my service I have seen, especially in the area of dog-fights, for example, or of cock-fights, people who are involved also with narcotics and with many other related, and non-related, crimes which are even more serious.
Setting aside dog-fighting and cock-fighting, we have seen many, many times that usually the first blow is given to an animal in order to show all the authority or power that someone has. In all these cases we have seen that the perpetrator, in the beginning, has abused an animal in order to force a child to be obedient, whether the abuse be psychological or physical.
We must, then, learn how we can research these cases and little by little begin to understand and start a dialog about the way in which we may try to proceed with them.
Thank you very much.