By Sinead Kelly
A MEMORANDUM calling for the appointment of an animal welfare commissioner was handed over by the Animal Party to the Director of the President’s Office Panayiotis Antoniou at the palace yesterday.
“The government will do everything it has promised on the issue of animal welfare and we are already proceeding with a fast pace toward that direction,” said Antoniou.
The head of the Animal Party Kyriakos Kyriakou said the situation was very serious. “It’s getting worse. Stray dogs are everywhere, the shelters are full and they are doing their best but something needs to be done soon,” Kyriakou told the Cyprus Mail
The memo was accompanied by a petition with more than 40,000 electronic signatures from all over the world calling on President Nicos Anastasiades to appoint an animal commissioner, or the formation of a coordinating body.
There are currently too many different organisations each working on their own without coordination or cooperation, it said, for example government services such as the game fund, the veterinary services, the environment department, the fisheries department, municipalities and local authorities, in addition to dozens of non- governmental organisations and professionals working with animals.
A coordinating body could gather all animal welfare related legislation in a database and in cooperation with the legal services could provide help and information both to the private and public sectors.
Kyriakou also asked the government to take animal cruelty seriously and to increase penalties for offenders.
“Since 1994 when the relative law was voted, no-one has been sentenced to even one year in prison. They usually get fines up to €2,000 or receive a two-month sentence or they get a suspended sentence,” he said.