Cyprus Mail

AG appeals ‘Billy’ acquittals

By Evie Andreou

Attorney-general Costas Clerides has filed an appeal at the Famagusta district court against the recent acquittal of the two suspects tried and acquitted of the torture and death of Billy, the stray dog that died last year after it was thrown alive in a cardboard crusher, the Animal Party said on Friday.

A delegation from the party met with Clerides to discuss a number of issues concerning animal welfare but also the acquittal of the two in Billy’s death.

The suspects, two Protaras hotel employees who reportedly threw Billy, a stray dog, into a cardboard crusher while it was alive last year after they chased and beat him up, were acquitted earlier in the month following a decision by Famagusta district court, due to lack of evidence and witnesses.

The Animal Party, which refused to abandon the case, had sent Clerides a memo expressing their disagreement with the ruling citing a number of questions and uncertainties.

“We were informed by the attorney general that he filed today for an appeal as regards Billy’s case. We welcome his move, and we anticipate the result,” the head of the Animal Party Kyriacos Kyriacou told the Cyprus Mail.

The party was also pleased to hear that Clerides has appointed an official of the legal services to look into the two proposed bills that regulate the operation of pet shops, and animal shelters, and breeders.

“There have been delays as regards these two bills, and the attorney-general gave instructions for the acceleration of the legal review of the drafts,” Kyriacou said.

He added that at the moment there are no rules pertaining to the operation of animal shelters and of breeders.

But the proposed amendment to the bill on pet shops has been in the making for years. At the moment national legislation does not specify which animals are considered as pets, allowing pet shops to import anything, from cats, dogs, birds, to tigers, as long as the latter were born in captivity and are obtained within the EU.

As a result, many people adopt exotic animals as pets only to realise they cannot care for them anymore and release them into the wild, endangering the country’s ecosystem, but also the lives of these animals.

But the loophole in legislation has also lead to the death of several exotic animals. In 2010, the state vet services put to death 20 caiman crocodiles, which a pet shop owner tried to import on the island from the European Union.

The pet shop owner kept insisting he was allowed to import them, while the vet services argued that they could not let them out of customs because he was not a licensed establishment and did not have the necessary infrastructure to keep them. In the end, the baby caimans were the ones to pay the price of the lax legislation.



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