The office of the environment commissioner has announced that discussions are underway for possible implementation of a neutering programme for animals, mainly cats, aimed at controlling the population of strays.
The issue was discussed at a meeting between the environment commissioner Ioanna Panayiotou, the deputy director of Veterinary Services, the Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for Animal Welfare, and the chairmen of district councils.
According to the announcement, the aim of the effort is to start a neutering programme to help control the population of strays especially cats, and dogs at a later stage, for reasons of public health and animal welfare.
“To better understand the problem, it should be noted that non-neutered animals, cats or dogs, mate two to three times a year. A cat gives birth to between five and seven kittens and a dog to between eight and 12 puppies,” the announcement said.
Disregard of relevant legislation by pet owners, it said, and lack of law enforcement by local authorities, the economic crisis and the unscrupulousness of those who abandon their animals when they no longer want them, has created an overpopulation of stray dogs and cats the state and society must manage.
“To avoid overpopulation, in our view neutering is the only humane and at the same time scientific method for the control and management of animal population”, it said.
Neutering ensures the health of stray animals, as it prevents various diseases transmitted through the act of reproduction, and eliminates the aggressiveness between males, the announcement said. It also leads to “a numerically manageable stray population”.
Panayiotou said local authorities should also contribute to the efforts of the district committees for animal welfare with the support of the veterinary services, the environment commissioner, volunteers and NGOs to limit the phenomenon of the overpopulation of strays.