Meet “Sausage the Riot Dog”.
Reuters reports that in Athens, Greece, a stray ginger mutt from the streets has become a celebrity and a mascot of the protests that have been sparked by the Greek government’s increasingly draconian austerity cuts. Some people call him “Cinnamon”, but most refer to him as “Sausage”.
In the video below, he can be seen barking at police, sneezing as he dodges tear gas canisters, and weaving in and out of the ranks of demonstrators. According to Reuters, stray dogs in Athens are treated differently than in other European cities. Euthanasia is considered cruel, so the dogs are treated as honorary citizens.
“Instead of rounding them up and destroying them, the municipal authorities of Athens pay to feed more than 2,000 of them. They are neutered, given vaccines, identified with microchips and released back onto the street, wearing a tag with a phone number to call if they are in —or causing — trouble.” The program recently came under threat due to budget shortfalls.
Sausage’s affable personality and loyalty to the protesters has made him a four-legged hero to the movement. Athens’s deputy mayor Angelos Antonopoulos, who is also the veterinarian who founded the stray dog program says, “The municipality takes special care of him because he’s so lovable. And he’s also a symbol — a symbol of freedom.”