Cyprus Mail
Opinion

Letter to the Editor: How I was wrong about the Animal Party

Little Billy

By Robert Cracknell

Over the past few months I have been responsible for criticising the newly formed Cyprus Animal Party; in particular, its principle leader Kyriacos Kyriacou.  On two occasions my criticisms have been published in the Cyprus Mail.

I now wish to make a public apology for my criticisms, as I now know them to be totally unjustified – and I feel a brief explanation is necessary.

During the latter part of 2013, whilst in the fields of Ypsonas, I came across a hotchpotch of kennels. It was painfully obvious that there were dogs in great distress being caged inside.  On closer inspection I found a number of dogs in pitifully emaciated condition, with no apparent sign of available food and water, such as there was, covered with green/black slime.  I could see that the dogs were crammed together in the tiny space available to them and it was obvious that they had been lying in their own faeces for some considerable time.

I contacted the Government Veterinary department and insisted that they should go with me to see for themselves the deplorable state of the animals.  They eventually agreed and sent two representatives to meet with me.  They agreed that the conditions were disgusting and in the absence of any knowledge as to the owner of the site they left an official form pinned to the cage doors, informing ‘whoever it might concern’ to contact them within 24 hours.  (I later discovered that the ‘owner’ had in fact contacted them, admitted his failings and promised to rectify the situation immediately.)

Whilst in the same area on my visit with the veterinary representatives I took them to another site, approximately 200 metres away, where I knew there to be another three dogs in the same pitiful condition.  One of the dogs was literally dying.  At my insistence, a call was made to the Veterinary Services and the dogs were subsequently removed and taken into care for immediate attention and treatment.  Again at my insistence, the Police were called and instructed to charge the individual(s) responsible for this animal cruelty.

Later, I contacted the veterinary department and was informed that a charge had been brought against the man.  It also became apparent that since my first visit to the kennels and despite the assurance of the representatives who attended that they would carry out further checks, no such checks were made.

A few days ago, I travelled to the same area with my own dogs and found the same ramshackle sheds and cages in exactly the same condition as before.  The pitiful cries of the dogs contained inside could be plainly heard from some distance away.

Maybe through bloody mindedness I contacted Kyriacos Kyriacou personally by telephone and to my amazement he agreed to meet with me so he too could visit the location.  (I should add here that at the time of meeting me there were two small dogs in his car, which he told me had been abandoned outside his property. He had just returned from the vet’s, having paid for their injections and immediate treatment. These dogs are now in his care.)

His immediate reaction to the conditions in situ was one of horror and disgust and he immediately telephoned two ministries, including the Veterinary Services, insisting that immediate action be taken, not only to remove the dogs and alleviate their suffering but also to clarify the identity of the owner and have the ‘kennels’ razed to the ground!  He also assured me he would take up the matter with the Mukhtar of Ypsonas, to clarify whether or not licenses had been issued.

Within a short time of being in this man’s company I found him to be extremely compassionate and dedicated; not just towards dogs but in the case of all animals.  His integrity and dedication were totally apparent.

I apologised to him personally for my previous attacks and I wish to state again, publicly, that I will wholeheartedly support not only Kyriacos but also his fellow volunteers and associates; become a staunch member of the party and give it my full support in all its future work.

There can be no question of doubt that the Cyprus Animal Party, though in its infancy and still trying to find its feet, has already forced open the doors of officialdom, which in itself is a tremendous breakthrough. And having witnessed Kyriacos’ attitude towards those officials, on the telephone, I saw a force to be reckoned with.

The more public awareness that can be achieved, the greater the strides to bring about much needed changes which can only be brought about by public awareness and pressure.

In closing, I am grateful to the Cyprus Animal Party that this is not to be considered a new campaign, and the recent horrendous story about Billy will be kept alive.

 

Robert Cracknell, Ypsonas, Limassol

 

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