By Evie Andreou
A dog owner from Limassol has been fined €550 after complaints from a neighbour that constant barking affected her quality of life.
In court, the neighbour said that for the year and a half before she filed the complaint the two dogs’ constant barking could be heard from her bedroom and that despite earlier complaints to the Yermasogia municipality, the issue was not resolved.
The owner, who said his dogs naturally start to bark when they hear other dogs and when someone approaches the house, was also asked to pay trial expenses.
The presiding judge ruled that between February 2011 and October 2012 “the owner allowed or tolerated his dogs to make noise through their loud and constant barking, which caused annoyance to the public”.
According to the head of the Animal Party Kyriacos Kyriacou, the court decision highlights the absence of special infrastructure to ensure that the same rules apply to all.
He added that in a similar case, a Nicosia court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaints and ruled that the defendant did not allow his dogs to bark on purpose since he proved his various efforts to make them stop barking.
“These are difficult cases, there is confusion even in courts; in these cases the opinion of vets and experts in animal behaviour should be taken into account,” he said.
In Germany, Kyriacou said, in cases of complaints about dogs barking, authorities have the capacity to go on site several times to record the duration and frequency of the barks.
Residents of Peyia protested earlier in the year organised against the nuisance of barking dogs, which they said are not only affecting their wellbeing but also impacting short and long term property rentals in the area.
The much awaited bill to amend the Law on Dogs, which provides for heavy fines and speedier enforcement when it comes to owners who do not abide by the law, is still in front of the House Environment Committee.
The bill – that was three years in the making – was sent to the House by the cabinet in September and according to a source, the committee is waiting for the amendments and comments submitted by stakeholders to be sorted out and recorded so that they can proceed with discussion and possible approval.
Committee chairman Adamos Adamou had said in December that he had registered many diverging views between animal welfare groups, the competent authorities and local authorities.
“Our goal is to bridge these views through discussion and submit to the plenum the best legislation possible,” he said, admitting that the proposed legislation will not solve all problems, but it will improve the current situation.