By Evie Andreou
A sponsored 5km walk to collect funds for Cypriot animal shelters will take place in London on Sunday, organised by UK Cypriot Lee Lefki Panayiotou.
“We are fundraising for the thousands of stray dogs and cats of Cyprus that need proper shelters, medical care and food and re homing. Only a small minority get looked after whilst the others are left to suffer or put to sleep,” said Panayiotou.
Panayiotou said that until now around 30 people have registered to participate in the walk along with their dogs, and that she already collected about £200 for the cause and she welcomes more sponsors.
She said that the money would be donated to the Dali animal shelter, because she had adopted her own dog from there three weeks ago. A shelter in Limassol would also benefit, she said.
“The walk is just a first step. I have also formed a company and I’m waiting for the charity number so that I will be able to collect funds and help animal shelters in Cyprus,” Panayiotou said.
The charity, Rescue Dogs of Cyprus, will offer food and medical care to Cypriot shelters and would also arrange the transfer and adoption of animals from Cypriot shelters to UK families.
Panayiotou also hopes the charity will improve the island’s image in the UK.
Referring to the widely-publicised case of Little Billy – a poodle that died after it was thrown alive in a cardboard crusher by two hotel employees in Protaras in June – reflected badly not just on Cyprus but on Greek Cypriots in the UK as well.
“Many people would come up to me and say is this what Greek Cypriots do to animals?” Panayiotou said.
She is positive her charity will take off and that people will help, both in the UK and Cyprus.
“We need to be their voices. These animals should not have to endure the horrific things we have witnessed. Help us provide a better way of life for these innocent creatures,” was her message to everyone in Cyprus and the UK.
“The cruel and unexpected way some individuals behave toward animals reflects the entire nation and of Greek Cypriots abroad,” Panayiotou said.
She added that she is determined to make noise and force people and the Cyprus government notice the charity and the cause.
Panayiotou urged people in the UK to participate in the walk on Sunday which starts at 12pm at Trent Park, Cockfosters entrance, and welcomes anyone that wants to help her in her new venture to contact her at: [email protected] or [email protected]
The link to the walk fundraiser is