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Limassol municipality says dog ban due to law breaking owners

Dog lovers taking part in Sunday's demonstration

The Limassol municipality on Tuesday said its decision to ban dogs from the Molos area of the city was taken to protect the public from dog owners who do not follow the law.

The decision to ban dogs from the area had been strongly criticised on Monday by the Animal Party.

Far from being a matter of a hatred of animals, the municipality said, the measure has been proposed by many people who are dog owners who agree that a society that cannot take care of the health of all needs such a legislation to ensure the safety of children.

“Despite the efforts of the municipality with various measures (placement of special baskets for the disposal of animal waste, day-to-day supervision by municipal officials, the distribution of material to enhance awareness) and the fact that fines provided by the legislation have not deterred offenders, unfortunately a number of dog owners continue to disrespect the rest of their fellow citizens using the park,” the municipality said.

However, the Animal 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 do not abide by the law could simply receive a fine for neglecting to pick up their dog’s litter.

The Animal Party said that most dog owners are respectful of the area, making sure 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.

The municipality argued it has a duty to ensure the health and safety of public places and the decision was made as the area is used daily by hundreds of families and children.

According to the authorities, concerns were raised by visitors about the amount of animal waste and the danger to children from dogs allowed to move around freely instead of being on a leash.

The municipality stressed the authorities are ready for a dialogue with residents and organised groups and already support a number of helpful practices, such as supporting a sterilisation programme for stray animals, recording all animals within the boundaries of the city, investigating cases of poisoning and animal abuse and informing people about animal protection and welfare.

At least 100 people showed up at an impromptu demonstration on Sunday to express their disapproval over the mayor’s decision and the Animal Party announced that they will also organise demonstrations to protest the decision.

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