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Legislation for animal police force not tough enough, NGO says

The legislation regarding the creation of an animal police force is problematic as it does not refer to penalties or measures which actually help, the Cyprus Association for the Protection of Animals warned on Friday.

In a statement, the association referred to a session of the House legal committee on Wednesday, during which the issue was discussed.

Under the current law, police are in any case already obliged to deal with some of the provisions of the relevant law which were selected to be included in the legislation, the organisation argues, saying “they prepared a three-page flawed and problematic bill”.

“Unfortunately, not every complaint on behalf of animals will be dealt with, resulting in confusion between the animal police, the veterinary services and the agency for the protection and welfare of animals,” the association noted, adding the bill refers only to the investigation of cases, which is insufficient.

“It does not refer to penalties or measures that help protect animals. Unfortunately, none of our suggestions were taken into account.”

According to the announcement, for the animal police to be effective, it must “address all the provisions of Law 46 (1) 94 on the protection and welfare of animals and the law on dogs”.

“For each violation, an extrajudicial fine should be imposed as provided by the law on out-of-court settlement of crimes against animals of 2002, which has unfortunately been ignored.”

According to Limassol-based law firm Michael Chambers & Co which elaborated on animal welfare legislation in Cyprus, the Law 46(I)/1994 states that complaints related to animal cruelty should be reported to the competent authority.

“In Cyprus, the competent authority is the director of veterinary services and any state veterinary officer or any police station. However, the dog law (184(I)/2002) provides that complaints related to dog torturing and poisoning should be submitted to the municipalities/communities or police or both. In addition, complaints can also be reported to the district animal welfare committee.”

Detailed penal provisions for those who breach the laws have been set out as part of the 1994 law. They can be found here

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