The Cyprus Animal Party warned all dog owners to be vigilant and called on the authorities to monitor checkpoints after hunting dogs stolen in Kolossi were discovered in the north this week.
In a statement the party also said that eight more animals were stolen from the same area on Thursday.
“We believe this is a well-organised crime ring involving Greek Cypriots who likely cooperate with Turkish Cypriots or gypsies in the occupied areas with the ultimate goal of selling the dogs there to make a profit,” it said.
The dogs are either sold in the north or the owners are blackmailed via mobile phones into paying money for their return.
“Serious questions arise as to how stolen dogs are being transported and how they get through checkpoints controlled by the Republic of Cyprus without being detected,” the statement said.
Dog owners are urged to protect their animals and take all necessary measures to prevent the thefts.
According to the Animal Party, this is not the first time they have sent such a warning. On October 23 last year they issued a similar statement, saying that between August and September a total of 52 valuable dogs had been stolen.
“Once again, we urge dog owners to take more stringent precautionary measures for their dogs, especially those who have them in a yard or other places outside which can be accessed by people. In addition, we call upon the authorities of the Republic, and in particular the departments responsible for monitoring entry and exit points to and from the occupied areas, to be even more careful and to carry out even stricter checks to prevent such incidents,” the statement said.
Nine of 23 hunting dogs stolen from a Greek Cypriot man in Limassol have been located in the north and returned to their owner, the Cyprus News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The dogs were stolen last week in Kolossi. CNA said four Turkish Cypriots were being questioned in relation to the case and that another 14 dogs found in the same place were being examined to determine if they were also stolen.