A 64-year old Limassol man was charged for animal abuse after allegedly tying his dog on his car and dragging it through the streets of Limassol on Christmas day, police said.
The animal died and the man was arrested by police officers who were in pursuit, after witnessing the horrific event.
The man was released and he will appear before court at a later date.
The incident sparked outrage and renewed calls for the creation of an animal police unit in Cyprus.
An online petition on Avaaz ( http://goo.gl/Z2lyCP ) under the title “President Anastasiades: Punishment for the 64-year-old who killed his dog-Establish Animal Police” had gathered almost 4,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon. The aim was to collect 6,000 signatures.
It also prompted a reaction from the Green party, which issued a press release asking for the exemplary punishment of the 64-year-old and the immediate creation of a specialized police force.
That was the second incident of animal abuse reported in the span of one week. On December 23 it was reported that a kennel in Limassol let its caged dogs starve to death.
The incident drew the immediate response of members of the Animal Responsibility Cyprus (ARC). ARC is staging a protest against the owners of the kennel on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., outside the Limassol General Hospital.
Incidents of animal abuse are currently handled by the Veterinary Services and any wrongdoing is reported to police.
Plans to set up an animal police force were dropped, with Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou saying in June that the demand could not be met at this stage.
The minister had told the NGO Cyprus Voice for Animals (CVA) in a meeting that animal welfare policing should be undertaken by neighborhood police officers.
CVA estimates that a task force of ten-fifteen officers would be more than enough to effectively police Cyprus on matters of animal welfare.
Community policing had not been established throughout Cyprus but the Justice Minister promised on June that it would be expanded and community officers would trained on matters of animal welfare.