By Christophe Hadjigeorgiou
The Animal Party on Friday criticised the animal welfare coordinating committee for deciding to use the €75,000 earmarked by the government for the neutering of stray animals only for cats.
If the state veterinary services have decided that there is no longer a problem with stray dogs, the party said in a statement, they should come out and say it. Party chairman Kyriacos Kyriacou has already submitted a letter to the president on the matter.
Data held by Cyprus Animal Party revealed that in 2017 only 23 dogs – 10 male and 13 female – were neutered, while 1316 cats – 522 males and 794 females – underwent the procedure.
“No consultations were made by the department of veterinary services with the NGOs supporting animal welfare to discuss the continuation of the neutering programme,” the Animal Party said. Such a course of action, it said, sets NGOs back in controlling overpopulation and in balancing the aid provided to strays in order to give them appropriate homes.
NGOs are also given a grant of €100,000 per year, but this is used to cover all other expenses that keep them afloat, the party said.
This latest decision, it added, denies the existence of these stray dogs, and so ignores the work undertaken to deal with the problem.
Of the €75,000, each district received €15,000 to coordinate the spaying of strays within their areas, yet the Paphos district only used a total of €3,500, whereas the Famagusta district used a greater amount than provided, a total of €16,730 the party said.
Such a difference could suggest variations in the population of cats and dogs in different regions, proving, according to the Animal Party, that studies are necessary for the neutering project.
The decision taken shows, the Animal Party said, that no assessments took place by the veterinary services for this year, especially since many organisations still count stray dogs to number in the 200,000 to 250,000.
The party said it strongly opposes just spaying cats, especially since the decision was taken without consultation with stakeholders. It said that facts reveal many dogs are still in dire circumstances adding that 11,000 of which have been adopted by families in EU countries between 2015 to 2017.
The municipality and community pounds choose not to euthanise, the party said, resulting in overpopulation. They have asked for financial support, as those who want to adopt animals shouldn’t have to bear the neutering expense.