A campaign to spay and neuter stray animals in Cyprus was launched on Tuesday, World Animal Day.
The campaign will include formulating and implementing a spay and neuter programme for mainly stray cats and a small number of dogs, finding economic resources from the private sector that will supplement the government funds to enable more operations to take place on an annual basis as well as informing the public on the spay and neuter programme and animal welfare.
Speaking at a press conference, Environment Commissioner Ioanna Panagiotou said the protection and welfare of animals is a serious social issue that involves state and local services in addition to members of the public, adding that humane treatment of animals is an integral part of the values of the EU and member states ought to take this into full consideration.
Panagiotou said that stray cats and dogs are a reality in Cyprus and handling them requires a very sensitive and careful approach. She noted that the increased number of stray animals is due to uncontrolled reproduction since owners do not spay or neuter their animals.
Due to overpopulation, animals are abandoned, resulting in their death due to hunger, their exposure to dangers that include being run over by cars, poisoning and diseases. Those that are picked up by the local services and end up in municipal shelters and are not adopted are often euthanised, she added.
Volunteer Commissioner Yiannis Yiannaki said activities include giving owners kits to clean up after their dogs’ waste which is a hazard to the environment and public health.