Cyprus Mail

President weighs in on dog abuse (Update)

By George Psyllides

President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday condemned the “disgraceful” incident where a dog was thrown alive into a cardboard crushing machine at a Paralimni hotel, as police charged two men with animal cruelty.

“Such incidents are a disgrace for society and our country,” a statement from the presidency said. “The government is determined to stamp out such phenomena, which unfortunately continues to be perpetrated by sick minds.”

The incident was also condemned by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation after the damaging reports, and the outcry on the hotel’s Facebook page.

“Innocent and defenceless animals must be protected and not abused,” the CTO said in a statement. “We understand the sensitivity of foreign and local tourists; such acts tarnish Cyprus’ tourist image but also that of the society as a whole.”

The two men, a Cypriot and a foreign national, were employees of the hotel, managed by Tsokkos Hotels.

Initial reports – later refuted by the hotel chain – claimed that the dog had been thrown in the machine on Tuesday at the behest of the hotel manager.

Police spokesman Giorgos Economou said charging the manager depended on the findings of the ongoing investigation.

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.

According to the presidency statement, the government was looking at ways to strengthen the law where necessary and create the mechanism for its implementation.

It was also studying the appointment of a co-ordinating body to monitor such matters and include the subject in school curricula in a bid to cultivate an animal loving conscience.

Little Billy, a stray Cyprus poodle, was rescued by tourists who heard her cries and was taken to a vet in Paralimni where she was still in a coma on Friday.

Tsokkos Hotels said on Thursday that 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 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 incident caused an outcry on social networking sites and a petition was launched seeking justice for Billy.

The Green Party also condemned “the grotesque incident of barbaric abuse”.

“What we build, we also destroy with our thoughtless behavior and abuse of animals,” the party said in a statement.

It said taxpayers’ money invested in promoting tourism was being thrown away “thanks to these people and their actions” when news of animal abuse goes round the world, ruining any positive image this country has.

“Every incident is followed by another. Yet again we see that some citizens won’t change their way of thinking and purposely torture animals,” the party added.

It reiterated the need for the creation of an animal police force, saying . Despite the ongoing promises from the justice minister and the Chief of Police, nothing has happened.

The party said studies for the implementation of a small and versatile team of special police officers shows that it can be accomplished on a small budget.

“Despite this, the people in charge continue to give us more promises for the future. We remind everyone that the relevant legislation was adopted through the Green Party’s proposal in June 2012 and since then many steps have been taken towards implementing it, but unfortunately we keep confronting a resistance from those in charge.”




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