By Evie Andreou
A SICKLY, stray dog was allegedly thrown alive in a cardboard crushing machine by two employees of a beach hotel in Protaras, animal rights activists said on Thursday, and is currently fighting for her life at a veterinary clinic.
Little Billy, a stray Cyprus poodle, was rescued by tourists who heard her cries and was taken to a vet in Paralimni. The photo was also taken by tourists.
The dog is in a coma and she was put on IV fluids but cannot be moved to the x-ray machine because she is too frail. She is malnourished and suffering from anaemia, the vet said.
Initial reports – later refuted by the hotel chain in question – claimed that the dog had been thrown in the machine at the behest of the hotel manager.
Wednesday’s incident has been reported to the police. Famagusta police spokesman Giorgos Economou said that officers went to the scene and started investigating the case as soon as they were notified. He said that they were taking statements and that if there was a case to be answered, police would proceed.
Animal party head Kyriacos Kyriacou told the Cyprus Mail that the two employees, a Cypriot and a foreign national claimed that they thought the dog was dead before they threw it in the machine.
Kyriakou who spent most of the day at the vet clinic, said that if Billy survives she would be adopted by the Animal Party.
The party condemned the incident and said that this was another example of unacceptable behaviour against animals, which tarnished Cyprus abroad.
“The damage to our tourism has already been done, as a petition is been signed by people from all around the world, and it will continue to, unless some people change behaviour and mindsets” said the announcement.
In an announcement issued later on Thursday, Tsokkos Hotels said that contrary to initial reports on social media, the hotel’s manager did not instruct the two employees to dispose of the dog in the crusher.
The dog had been wandering about the hotel and the pool area for days, and after complaints from guests, the manager called in the two employees and instructed them to take Billy to a dog shelter in Paralimni. The manager also notified municipal authorities.
Instead, according to Tsokkos Hotels, the two employees took it upon themselves to dump the dog in the crusher and left her there. The crusher was not operational.
The manager has been questioned by police, and until the matter is cleared up he has been suspended from his duties, the hotel chain said. The other two employees have been fired.
Billy meanwhile is in stable but critical condition. The vet said she was suffering from hypothermia and anaemia, possibly dating to before her ordeal. But there was also a suspicion that the dog may have been struck, George Tsokkos, sales & marketing director, told the Mail.
The hotel chain denounced the two employees’ behaviour as “inhumane and intolerable.” It said it was paying for all expenses for treatment and care of the dog, and that representatives of the company had visited the vet clinic. They would also find the dog a home, they said.
Dozens of people expressed their dismay on the hotel’s Facebook page and a petition was launched on the Internet demanding justice for Little Billy.Over 6,000 people had signed by Thursday night. The petition urges the government, the Chief of Police, and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation to bring an end to the cruelty, neglect and torture of animals in Cyprus.