Cyprus is beside Sicily and Sardinia the third-biggest island of the Mediterranean Sea. Since the invasion of theTurkish troops in 1974 the northern part of the island proclaimed itself in 1983 the Turkish Republic of Cyprus.
Between the south part of the island (= Republic of Cyprus) and the north part (= Turkish republic Cyprus) lies a buffer zone which is administered by the United Nations.
Since 2004 the (Southern) Republic of Cyprus is a member state of the EU, the (Northern) Turkish Republic of Cyprus did not join the EU. Cyprus has 1,058,300 inhabitants, the people are speaking Greek and Turkish.
Cyprus and its animal welfare act
Law §46 (article 1) of 1994
In this law the following basic sections are found:
A person who owns an animal must care for its health and well-being
It is forbidden to cause pain, fear or injuries to an animal without rational reason
It is forbidden, to give poison deliberately and without rational reasons to animals, or provoking that such a substance is taken up by an animal
It is forbidden to mal-treat animals, to neglect them or to put them out to unsuitable hardship.
It is particularly forbidden: a) To cause an inhuman death of the animal in any manner f) To abandon animals with the aim of abolition of the animal, whose survival depends on human care o) To tie an animal permanently in a way which doesn’t enable it to move, or put a risk of suffocation to the animal.
Everybody who owns or supervises or carries along an animal must supply it with feed, water and care, and so far necessary, with a lodging
The freedom of movement which is essential for the animal may not be limited permanently or without giving reasons in any manner which causes pains, sufferings or damages.
Part V (1):
If the increase of the number of the straying animals causes serious danger for the public health and security, the responsible authority can take the necessary measures for the reduction of these figures on an ecologically reasonable level, always within the scope of the programmes which were approved by the responsible authority.
Theoretically exists – with the exception of the killings, also intended in Cyprus, at state "animal homes" - a good legislation at which not a lot is to be criticised.
The reality for the dogs at Cyprus
This is the rather typical picture of a abandoned dog, a street dog in Cyprus, completely emaciatedly, hopelessly and giving up itself.
Only a few survive this more than a few weeks, because they starve, die of thirst, are involved in accidents or they are shot.
As in many countries of Southern and Eastern Europe animals are not seen as beings, capable of suffering.
Not far from starvation People even disprove to them that they can feel „pains“ and some parents watch still how their children torment dogs and cats.
A Cypriot animal is for a lot of people only a thing, has to perform something, to fulfil a purpose or to serve at least sometimes a short time as a toy for the children.
And then, when the animals become annoying because they are not “housetrained” or because the children don’t want to play with them anymore or because they cost money, then they are disposed of, abandoned, are brought to killing stations or animal homes (in the most favorable case), or simply are shot or poisoned.
The People in Cyprus generally don’t think about sterilisations, so they do also nothing against the uncontrolled increase, so that every year, over and over again, new generations suffer the same pain like. Their ancestors before.
Numerous dogs are still purchased, above all pedigree dogs, but not because they would love dogs so much, no, but from pure prestige thinking.
Then, nevertheless, they have no family connection, end at the too short chain or in narrow sheds and eke out there their miserable dog life. If they have no more desire on their dogs, it becomes abandoned/killed and they just get a new one in the zoo shop.
Animal maltreatments, killing of dogs etc., all of this finds practically no judicial sequel; no Cypriot would one day indicate another, here everybody knows everybody anyhow, families are known together or related.
Only foreigners get announcements here. However, announcements of foreigners about tak animal cruelty or disregard of the valid animal welfare act are smiled and lead to nothing.
Cyprus and shelter
There are state shelters in which the dogs are killed after 22 days and there are animal homes, which are led in a honorary capacity – mostly by Englishmen – because there are no state subsidies.
The shelters are always overcrowded chronically, so that it also comes on the part of the hygiene and the care to mismanagement.
Though they try to provide help to the dogs and to care for their needs as good as possible, however, the inflow of dogs is always clearly bigger (above all after the hunting season) that placings, so that it also comes here to killings.
Unfortunately, many Englishmen must leave Cyprus because of the economic situation. Then they are forced to bring their dogs in the animal homes, because the duty regulations require a quarantine time of 6 months and many expensive blood tests in England.
For the Cypriots hunting has a high value, however, the position of the hounds mocks of every description.
Usually those are held in narrow small cages and get only bread and water.
Beyond the hunting season from November to March they have no chance to come out of these narrow cages or boxes, they know no games, no walks, no family connection and sit for months in their narrow cages.
Their "hound education" takes place under pure violence in education camps and lasts 3 months. Then the thereby,badly qualified hound, naturally also mostly flees from his owner, as soon as he has the possibility for it during the hunt and becomes a stray dog.
Such dogs are never castrated, so that is always provided for replenishment of hounds – with appropriate results.
To acquire the hunting permission is no problem for Cypriots, because there is no need of a suitable education.
The Cypriot law, that every hound must be registered by the authorities, i.e. chipped, is not enforced in the reality; to this fact comes that many hunters are active in politics and hence, the hunting becomes protected in itself.
New Cypriot dog law
The new dog law has come into force on the 1st of October, 2004, but, because this wasn’t announced publicly, only very few people know about their responsibility.
The large part of the stray population in Cyprus is a direct result of the irresponsibility of the dog holders concerning dogs which are not welcome any more.
The new dog law is a very strict law if it is executed effectively. In the new dog right the responsible authority transfers the responsibility of the control of straying dogs to the local authority, i.e. the management of the municipalities and associations of municipalities.
If an abuse of animals is supposed, the local authorities can support the animal welfare organisations and the veterinarian authorities.
Demands for the dog holders: The registration of the dogs is prescribed – with offence a high fine is to be covered.
Since the 24th of April, 2009 there were changes in the licensing procedure for dogs:
- The owner must mark the dog by a private veterinarian with a microchip, issue a certificate of good health, book the dog in the central dog register and let issue a registration certificate. In the case of already chipped dogs the veterinarian or the veterinarian office can carry out the registration in the central register.
- Then the owner must present the licensing certificate and the certificate of good health to the local government and apply for a dog licence for which the fee varies according to gender and kind of the dog. This system should enable to veterinarians, the police and the animal welfare organisations and the local authorities to determine the owners of runaways and straying dogs.
Position control on site:
The local authority has the right of examination to all dwellings in which dogs are held to make sure that the keeping terms of the dogs show no risk for public health, the security and the well-being of the people.
Reasons for the extraction of a dog keeping licence:
The local authorities can refuse in certain cases to issue a dog keeping licence or recant these:
- If the responsible authority finds out that the dog is dangerous for person and animal beyond the property of the holder,
- If the dog is the cause for a nuisance.
- If a dog stands on the list of dangerous races and is not license
- If the owner is younger than 16 years or if he contravenes the animal welfare act
- If the owner can show no suitable living conditions for the dog,
- If the living conditions for the dog are a danger for public health and the health of the dog or other animals,
- If the owner abandoned the dog or the dog runs away
- If the dog is held at a place which doesn’t belong to the owner, with the exception, he has the written approval of the lawful owner of using of the area
- If the dog walks around regularly free, pollutes the street and causes annoyance and the holder initiates no measures to change this after a written warning by the local authorities.
Securing of a dog:
The responsible management instructs the veterinarian office. This examines the circumstances and hands the dog over the to the local authorities, provided that is found out that one of the above mentioned conditions applies.
The local authorities organise over the veterinarian office the accommodation of the dog with an animal welfare organisation or another institution or person who is interested. If this is not possible, within 30 days, the veterinarian office will hand over the dog to a veterinarian for euthanasia.
All costs, which originate from the conversion of the regulations of the above mentioned clauses, go to load of the owner of the dog.
Change of the ownership structures:
If a dog is given away or sold, the licence must be transferred by the local government to the future owner.
Loss or theft of the dog:
Loss or theft of the dog are to be indicated to the responsible authority.
Marking of the property:
In properties or at the house where a dog is held, a sign with the label „Warning of the dog“ has to be attached well and obviously.
If an owner wants that his dog is admitted as a hound, he must file an application for granting an approval to the use of a hound by the leader of the hunting union.
Besides, a valid dog keeping licence, issued by the local authority, has to be presented. It is not allowed to take more than two dogs at the same time to the hunt.
It is not allowed to Shepherds and cattle breeders to let accompany their herds of more than 2 dogs.
Dog owners must take all measures to prevent that their dog strays. The owner of a straying dog is obliged to the payment of the costs which originate from catching and the accommodation of the dog by the local authorities.
According to the law the local authority is obliged to keep the dog for 15 days and to undertake all efforts to find the owner.
If the owner cannot be determined, the dog is handed over to the veterinarian authority for euthanasia, provided that it is not rehomed again or is taken up by an animal welfare organisation.
- The available protection of animals law (and also the new dog law) must be also executed practically and offences, finally, also be punished – not only at foreigners.
- The killings at the animal homes must be stopped: Animal homes as a stopover and reinforced efforts to care for the dogs
- The clarification of population concerning the contact with animals, beginning in schools, must be intensified (teaching field: Protection of animals!)
- Castrations must be prescribed compelling for all dogs and cats that are not planned for breeding.
Report: Birgit Lewe
The source of the pictures would not like to be named.