CONTROVERSIAL pet shop and zoo owner Melios Menelaou on Tuesday warned that financial problems piling up due to issues with the veterinary services could risk the well-being of the animals he keeps.
Following a letter he sent to Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis dated July 15, Menelaou told the Cyprus Mail that in 2014 he decided to return the operational licence of his zoo to the state.
This was because, he claims, he wanted the vet services to get their act together as they are the cause of a lot of his financial woes and the reason he is suing them.
“When I import animals and they transport them… the conditions like the cages they keep them in are terrible and many have died as a consequence,” he said. Menelaou said this had caused him to lose a lot of money.
Menelaou also has a pet-shop licence that allows him to sell animals.
He said he would keep his planning permit and wants the vet services to ‘let him’ move forward with the development plans he submitted.
Neither Kouyialis or the vet services were immediately available to comment on whether someone could just return their operational licence and be absolved of their responsibilities.
With the zoo licence Menelaou claims he returned, he is required to offer his animals a much higher level of care – including having a vet, and a biologist, and constantly monitor their wellbeing.
Although he says returning the zoo licence absolved him of the legal requirement to do this, he still continued to do everything for the sake of the animals.
Now, Menelaou said he might no longer be able to afford to give the same level of veterinary and biological care, or even feed them which puts the wellbeing of the animals at greater risk.
Asked about the four lemurs which are registered under a zoo licence he said he calls a vet to inspect them at regular intervals “and I dare anyone to sue me about that.”
Commenting on photos of a lioness with an eye infection circulating on social media, which were spark for a protest earlier this month, Menelaou said this was misinformation from the vet services.
“That lion is sixteen and a half years old. I’ve brought in a specialist from Belgium that said it may be from problems the animal has with its kidneys. The vet however needs a tranquilliser gun to make it go to sleep and perform more tests.”
According to Menelaou, this gun is supposed to be in the hands of the veterinary services but is nowhere to be found and he was refused permission to obtain it and use it.
He has been offering to treat the lioness for the past six months, he told the Cyprus Mail. The vet services were unable to comment on the tranquilliser gun.