By Constantinos Psillides
THE FORESTRY department has warned dog owners that they will continue to fine dog owners who walk their pets in the Athalassa national park, despite a court decision last week in favour of a woman who refused to pay a fine.
The statement sent by the forestry department on Monday says that the department is in the process of appealing the court decision.
“Thus, the court proceedings are yet to be concluded. With that in mind, department officials will still fine people who take their dogs for a walk in the park.”
The Nicosia district court ruled in favour of a woman who refused to pay a fine imposed by a park official, after she took her dogs for a walk in the Athalassa park. The judge found that the legislation forbidding animals from entering national parks was introduced a full month after the fine was imposed and that in any case, the term “animals” in the legislation in question didn’t include dogs.
The Athalassa national park falls under the jurisdiction of the forestry department and not the local authority, as is usually the case with parks in urban areas.
Dog owners are still allowed to walk their dogs in public parks, provided they do so away from children’s playgrounds, although there have been cases of some municipalities restricting access to dog owners.
Strovolos municipality in Nicosia caused an uproar in March 2014, after forbidding dog owners to walk their dogs in any of the municipality’s public parks.
The municipality officials justified their decision by arguing that dog owners repeatedly refused to clean up after their dogs.
Dog owners have time and time again requested that the state designate areas for dog walking.