By Bejay Browne
PAPHOS police are investigating another sickening case of animal cruelty involving the skinning and stringing up of a male cat which was discovered close to a children’s play area in a small Paphos village at the weekend.
A Paphos police spokesman confirmed on Monday that the case is under investigation and described the incident as sickening.
“We are taking this matter seriously and are making enquiries with the aim of bringing the culprit before the court,” he said.
An appeal is also underway to find the owner of the black and white Persian mix by Paphiakos and CCP animal welfare group, the charity which local residents originally contacted for help on Saturday.
Christine Panayiotou, the charity founder said: “The skinned cat was discovered after a distressed Cypriot resident called us to remove the body found strung up a flag pole next to a children’s play area in Koloni village in Paphos. She was distraught and requested that we send someone to remove the body of a cat before the area became busy with children playing there.”
A Paphiakos’ volunteer driver was sent to attend the scene. He had previously worked in the British police force and in animal rescue and said he had never seen anything like it.
“This cat was hung in a public area obviously to be seen; it is the worst case of its kind that I’ve witnessed. The 18-year-old female volunteer that accompanied me was very distraught and in tears. It was a horrific experience.”
The driver who wished to remain unnamed due to the sensitive nature of his work said it appeared as if the cat had been strung up only a few hours previously – perhaps at night-time – due to a lack of flies and maggots on the body.
The cat was discovered in the small village of Koloni close to Geroskipou in Paphos, at a Futsal and playground area. He was strung up by one of its back legs and hoisted to the top of a 20 foot flag pole, skinned from its neck downwards. Only a small amount of fur remained on the back part of its body and its tail. The head, although still covered in fur, is described as “a complete mess with blood leaking from nose, mouth, eyes and ears”.
The body was taken to Paphiakos.
One of the volunteers said: “Despite working for Paphiakos for nearly seven years I have never seen such cruelty bestowed upon any animal. I can’t imagine how much pain the poor animal went through before death finally claimed it.”
The cat was examined by Paphiakos veterinarians who said it was hard to put an exact age on the cat but that it is male and over five years old. He also sustained a puncture wound to the stomach which probably means that it was stabbed and this was most likely the cause of death. Although it is unlikely that the cat was skinned alive, they cannot rule out partial skinning before the animal succumbed to his injuries.
The charity said that they are determined to find who carried out this heinous act and have been assured by the police that all avenues will be investigated.
“It is so terrible to contemplate this poor animal demise and there is a big question as to ‘why, not only the disgusting act itself but also string the cat up next to a children’s play area is unthinkable. We are all so stunned and shocked by this tragedy,” Panayiotou said:
The Cyprus Animal Party – APC – described the case as extremely distressing, saying the culprit was a psychopathic killer.
“There is a killer on the loose and they must be found and dealt with in the most severe way possible within the law.”
But Party chairman Kyriakos Kyriakou warned against offering a reward for information leading to the perpetrator.
“Offering a €1,000 reward for information is this financial climate could backfire horribly. What’s stopping people from murdering animals and then pretend to give information?” he told the Cyprus Mail.
The Animal Party will be meeting on Friday with newly-elected Paphos mayor Fedonas Fedonos to discuss animal welfare issues in the district.
Paphiakos and CCP animal welfare on 26946461