The owners of Gandhi, a three-year-old cat that returned home in Pervolia in Larnaca this week covered in blood and with his body peppered with shotgun pellets, on Thursday made a desperate plea for hunting to stop in residential areas.
The couple moved some two months ago to a sparsely inhabited area in Pervolia, thinking it would be an ideal place for their family, which includes a 7-year-old son, three dogs and four cats. But they said it had turned out to be a nightmare due to the constant hunting activity around their home.
“We often call the police to report and as helpful as they are, they never get here in time,” the husband said.
Ironically, when they heard shots on Monday afternoon near their house and called the police, they had no idea that it would turn out to concern their cat Gandhi.
“He came home on Tuesday in a wretched condition. He was covered in blood and bleeding from one eye, I thought he was going to die,” the wife said.
Gandhi was rushed to the vet’s where X-rays revealed numerous pellets all over his body.
“He most probably lost an eye,” she said.
The cat is slowly recovering from his ordeal and he is expected to go home soon.
Gandhi’s owner thinks he was probably not shot by accident because following the incident, the couple found the cat’s collar snapped in two next to cartridge shells near their home.
They also reported this to the local police station, who told them they could do nothing as a small piece of land in the area is classed as hunting ground.
“I asked how can this be as there are houses around, and they replied that the town planning maps had not been updated,” she said.
She also expressed concerns for the safety of her 7-year-old son due to the constant hunting activity.
One of the couple’s four cats went missing as soon as they moved to Pervolia, and they suspect he too has been shot.
The husband said that there was a need to raise awareness of the problem. “This is unique to Cyprus in the sense that it has become acceptable”.
“I cannot be the only person to report illegal hunting and to find out there are only a handful of police that operate all over Cyprus to handle this,” he said.
The game and fauna service were not immediately available to comment.