The Animal Party strongly criticised Limassol municipality on Monday for banning dogs from the Molos area of the city.
At least 100 people showed up at a demonstration on Sunday to express their disapproval over the mayor’s decision.
“The demonstration was created last-minute and got a lot of support, but our party is in the process of also organising demonstrations in the very near future,” the head of the party, Kyriakos Kyriakou, told the Cyprus Mail.
The party has also received support from the public who have taken to social media to oppose the municipal ban and argue that that the Molos area has much larger issues that need resolving.
The Animal Party said that most dog owners are respectful of the area, making sure that they pick up any of their dog’s litter. It also questioned whether the municipality would extend the ban to blind people – who need their dogs to help guide them.
In a statement issued on Monday, the party cited article 18 of the offences and penalties laws, arguing that the outright ban of dogs from a public area is anti-democratic, as dog owners who are not respectful of the law could simply receive a fine for neglecting to pick up their dog’s litter. They also pointed out that the interior ministry had not yet approved the decision.
Mayor Nicos Nicolaides said on social media that dog owners will be receiving warnings effective immediately. He said that dogs should only be walked in areas which are not forbidden. In its statement the party said it wondered where those places were located – as they had formally asked for a dog-friendly park at the beginning of last year.
“The introduction of such extreme laws only serves to alienate the people who go the extra mile in being respectful,” the statement said.
On his Facebook page, Nicolaides had argued that the municipality’s decision to ban dogs from the area was because the dogs pose a threat to the health and safety of the public – particularly children.
He said government workers will be patrolling the area and issuing warnings for those who might still be unaware of the new, oncoming legislation.
“Dog faeces can cause a threat, not only to one’s health, but our negligence to picking it up shows how irresponsible we are!” the mayor said.