The revised bill on dog welfare which provides for increased penalties and fines for abuse and removal of animals from their owners, was presented to the House environment committee on Wednesday.
Discussion in parliament of the bill, which has been in the making for years, is expected to begin as soon as MPs return from the summer recess and to be put to vote by September, said committee chairman and AKEL MP Adamos Adamou.
Adamou said that the proposed legislation aims at reducing incidents of dog abandonment, neglect and abuse. Following earlier discussions, the environment committee had made recommendations which were included in the latest text prepared by the interior ministry.
“The bill has been coming and going for years, and this must stop now,” Adamou said. “It is a bill that fills many gaps existing today.”
Commenting on the latest animal cruelty incident reported on the weekend, where a dog was left to die under the scorching sun on the roof of an apartment building in Nicosia, Adamou said that the bill prohibits owners from leaving their dogs out in balconies and roofs.
The case in question, he said, is also covered by the law on animal welfare therefore, authorities are allowed to intervene.
The bill will also help simplify procedures in cases of animal abuse as to-date, Adamou said, a report must be made to the police, and they must in their turn notify the local authorities which will lead the defendants before court. “This process could take two years,” Adamou said.
According to the bill, he said, in case of animal abuse reports, the owner will receive a two-week notification by the local authorities and if by then the situation is not changed, the dog will be taken away and put in the shelters each local government will be forced to operate.
Owners of ground floor homes with gardens, he said, will be allowed to have two dogs, while those living in apartments, only one.
“In the case an owner wishes to have more dogs, they will have to justify their demand to the local authority,” Adamou said.
All those people who own more dogs at present will be allowed to keep them, even after the bill is passed into law, he said.