The Animal Party called on the government on Sunday to speed up procedures for better animal welfare measures after the death on Saturday of nine dogs who were found charred in their cages in Zakaki, Limassol, after a fire.
According to Phileleftheros, the dogs were in a cage in a plot in Zakaki and were charred after a fire erupted outside the animals’ enclosures which was believed to be arson.
The fire was seen by a neighbour at around 6am on Saturday who alerted authorities. In the cages were 12 dogs, in their majority hunting dogs that belonged to two brothers, aged 29 and 33. The neighbour reportedly rushed to open the cages but only three managed to escape. The blaze was put out by the fire service.
The Animal Party said in an announcement that it was revolted by the “criminal and barbaric” act.
“These so-called co-citizens of ours whoever they are, who caused a horrible death to innocent animals that did nothing wrong, cannot be characterised anything less than barbarians, uncivilised, and ruthless murderers and it is as such the government ought to treat them when and if they are caught,” the party said in an announcement.
The culprits, the party said, must receive the maximum penalty.
But the party also raised an issue as to the standard practice of many – especially hunters – to keep their dogs in cages, many times, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
“Cyprus is full of cages – almost all of them illegal – even in the most remote areas and in no way do we applaud or agree with keeping dogs in cages 24/7,” it said.
The party called on the interior ministry and Limassol municipality to look into whether the owners of these dogs had their animals registered and whether they had obtained permission to place the cages in an inhabited area.
“We fear that it was the noise the animals were probably making that led some to resolve the issue in this revolting, criminal and barbarous way,” it said.
The party’s aim, it said, was to raise awareness about animal welfare in society and in the political scene.
The government ought to look seriously into today’s crimes against animals, it said, “because they may be tomorrow’s crimes against humans”.
The party called on President Anastasiades to speed up procedures concerning the national agency for animal welfare, to appoint a Presidential Commissioner that would co-ordinate all services dealing with animal welfare, the introduction of harsher penalties concerning cruelty against animals and the launch of an intensive neutering and spaying programme.
The Animal Party also called for the introduction of courses on animal welfare in schools and the creation of a special corps within the police force to deal with crimes against animals.