By Bejay Bowne
A SPATE of air gun attacks on cats in a Paphos village has killed at least one and left a number of others seriously injured.
Up to ten cats – both pets and strays – were shot in Konia village last week by an as yet unknown person.
Following the near fatal shooting of her much loved cat Zeuss, owner Val Smart complained to Paphos police but said she was met with indifference. She has now written to President Nicos Anastasiades to complain about the shootings and the reaction of local police.
“I was angry and upset about Zeuss, so I rang the police but their response was shocking. They told me that I had to keep the cats within the confines of my garden, and if they go onto any other plots then it’s trespassing and the landowners have the right to shoot them.”
Smart said she was stunned by the response from the police. She keeps her cats inside at night time but pointed out that it was impossible to prevent a cat from roaming around when outside.
“There are many local children that play in the open spaces as well, it’s very dangerous. Someone is taking pot shots at the cats and it could so easily be a child,” she said.
The animal lover has lived in Cyprus with her husband Richard for the past 11 years and this is the first time she has experienced such an incident first hand.
Her four-year-old cat, Zeuss, appeared very ill last week and was taken to a vet’s in Konia on Thursday. Following examinations, the vet discovered a pellet lodged close to the cat’s spine, jugular vein and windpipe.
“It was life threatening and they had to operate,” said his owner.
Zeuss came through the two hour operation, but is still receiving treatment including injections every two days and is walking with a limp.
“I know it will cost a lot but we’re responsible owners and our cats are part of our family, we love them. I’m very worried about this situation, as I have another cat.”
Smart’s husband has also identified other air gun pellet wounds on a number of stay cats.
“As an air gun is quiet when it’s fired, people might not realise it’s a gun going off,” Smart said.
The Konia resident said that one pet owner wasn’t so lucky, as their cat had to be put down at the vet last Friday, as a pellet had punctured its lung.
Smart said the uncaring reaction of the police prompted her to write to the president.
“With animal welfare and their treatment being highlighted in the press after little Billy – the dog found in a waste crusher – I would expect some level of cooperation and help.”
The shocked animal owner says the incident has caused the couple to question being in Cyprus for the first time in 11 years.
“We love Cyprus and living here and get on very well with everyone, but I’m now on my guard. Somebody is taking pot shots at these cats.”
Paphos police spokesman Nicos Tsappis said he couldn’t comment on the allegations made against the officers, but would ensure senior police members look into the cat owner’s complaint.
“Firstly, it is necessary for a person wishing to own an air gun to have a license and the law must be followed in order to do so. Secondly, it is an offence to shoot animals and in this case it seems that the cat was also clearly identifiable as a pet as it was wearing a collar,” he said.
Tsappis said that the matter would be investigated.