By Evie Andreou
ANIMAL WELFARE activists have called for the toughest punishment provided by law in the trial into the death of Billy, the little black poodle thrown alive into a cardboard crusher by two former employees of a Paralimni hotel in June.
Two of the three suspects considered responsible for Billy’s death pleaded not guilty at the first court hearing of the case at Paralimni court on Monday.
An arrest warrant was issued for the third suspect who is from Bulgaria, since police have been unable to locate him.
The trial is to begin on February 10, 2015.
The three suspects, the hotel’s manager and the two employees that allegedly chased Billy off the hotel’s premises and threw him alive into the crushing machine, were charged with causing injury to animals and causing brutal death to animals.
Head of the Animal Party Kyriacos Kyriacou said that his party will be present throughout the trial and that the outcome of the trial will show how the judiciary views animal welfare.
“The court ruling is a mirror of how we as a society treat animals,” Kyriacou said.
The two suspects, which were bailed for €2,000 each, face up to two years’ imprisonment, Kyriacou said.
Outside the court room, members of the Animal Party staged a silent protest holding a banner saying “Protect the Animals”.
Billy, who was in a coma after he was rescued from the crushing machine by tourists, died in a local vet clinic some ten days later.
The cause of his death was brain haemorrhage caused by severe traumas to the base of his skull. It was reported that he may have been beaten before he was thrown in the crusher. The two employees claimed that they thought the dog was dead before they threw him in the machine.
Tsokkos Hotels, the company that manages the hotel, had said that the manager did not instruct the two men to treat the stray dog the way they did, and that they took it upon themselves to dump the dog in the crusher, which they claimed was not operational. They were fired after the incident, while the manager was suspended.