By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS based animal welfare charity is calling on other organisations, animal lovers and well-behaved pets to join them in a ‘walk of solidarity’ at the town’s carnival parade this weekend, to raise awareness and respect for animals.
This year, Paphiakos and CCP animal welfare has decided against entering a float in the popular carnival parade, instead using it as an opportunity to bring like-minded people together and show the public that more needs to be done to help animals all over the island, said the charity’s Oana Simion-Bodnaras.
“We are walking for animal welfare in general. We encourage all people from all walks of life, organisations, groups and any pet owner to join our group and walk to show their respect of animals,” she said.
Simion-Bodnaras said that the plight of animals in Cyprus was only getting worse and that welfare charities and organisations were struggling to cope with the growing number of unwanted animals. Paphiakos currently has more than 500 dogs at the shelter, as well as in excess of 650 cats and one hundred horses, donkeys and goats.
“We are no longer able to take dogs as we are full. This is the case with a number of other shelters too and something needs to be done. The situation is out of control and with dogs in particular, this is being exacerbated by a reluctance by many to spay or neuter them.”
She said that one female and male dog (at the top of a pairing pyramid) could be responsible for producing tens of thousands of puppies in their lifetime, taking into account breeding twice a year of reasonably-sized litters.
“There is also a massive problem with animal cruelty, we have seen some horrific cases this year and the problems are becoming very serious.”
She added that walking in the carnival provided a good opportunity for people to notice their presence and is also a proactive way to highlight a great need for better respect of all animals.
The carnival parade will take place tomorrow at 3pm and will see floats and participants make their way through the centre of Paphos, down-town Grivas Dighenis Avenue. According to the organisers, it will be the biggest Paphos parade to date.
Simion-Bodnaras said that people wishing to take part may bring banners from their own organisations and dress accordingly. Staff and volunteers from Paphiakos will be wearing branded t-shirts and there will be some available at the meeting point for those wishing to wear them.
Supporters are also welcome to bring well-behaved pets, but must come prepared to clean up after them, she said.
“We will meet at the waste-ground opposite the ‘New to You’ furniture shop -close to Makarios’ statue, between 2pm and 2.30pm, the carnival starts at 3pm.”
At 5pm, after the carnival, the Robin Hood Pub in Kato Paphos is hosting a carnival party, with a best masquerade competition and Latin dance show. The event is to be attended by the Mayor of Paphos and 20 per cent of the proceeds will go to Paphiakos, she said.
For information call Joy Porter on 99249497.