Tear gas? Woof! It's Sausage the Athens riot dog

Thu Oct 6, 2011 4:46pm EDT
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By Peter Graff and Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) - There he is, yelping with delight as the youths start hurling chunks of paving stones, barking his admonition at a cordon of cops fending off petrol bombs, sneezing as he scampers through the tear gas.

Meet Sausage the riot dog, an amiable ginger mongrel resident of Syntagma Square in central Athens, who doesn't mind if you show up for a day of mayhem as long as he can join in.

Whenever there's a demonstration, Sausage is there, always taking the side of the protesters and cheerfully lending a sense of comic relief to the occasionally violent proceedings.

It's made him a local celebrity. He's appeared on the front of just about every newspaper in Greece and wagged his tail on TV screens and websites around the world.

On Wednesday when state workers marched against government cuts, Sausage was in his usual spot at the front, egging on the crowd with a hearty "Gav!" (Greek for "Woof!"), tripping up baton-wielding officers as they charged down the steps.

For the record: some people call him Kanellos -- Cinnamon. The Athens municipality, which has known him since 2006 as Dog Number 1842, prefers Loukanikos -- Sausage.

"Loukanikos or Kanellos. These are two of his many names. It's the same individual," said Anna Makri, head of the city's Stray Animal Service. "There's no other Sausage."

As head of the department, Makri was sued once because Sausage bit someone. The case is pending. "He's a loveable dog, but he's a little bit hot-blooded," she says.   Continued...

<p>Riot policemen try to avoid an exploding petrol bomb thrown by protesters during a demonstration in Athens' Syntagma (Constitution) square October 5, 2011. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis</p>