Animal rights group The Cyprus Society for the Protection of Animals has accused the authorities of failing to properly implement regulations in place to protect animals, noting that thousands of dogs on the island remain unchipped, with some 200,000 being abandoned annually.

Their comments come in light of a recent incident in which a child was severely injured having been attacked by a dog.

According to the group, the canine population on the island is extremely high in comparison to the human population. Meanwhile, registration of dogs and breeding is completely out of control and goes unchecked, with hundreds of thousands of dogs being abandoned yearly.

Dog owners were also targeted in the outcry, with the group accusing the majority of dog owners of having failed to learn the basics when it comes to their pet´s needs and training, adding that thousands of dogs live under deplorable conditions of neglect and abuse.

Since the implementation of the Dog Law in 2001, which is strict and very binding for dog owners, the local authorities responsible for its implementation have failed to implement it properly and effectively.

The group also took a swipe at the veterinary service´s animal protection and welfare department, claiming that it is staffed by a large number of employees, the majority of whom are high-ranking, who do not deal with inspections of animal cruelty complaints. They also accused the recently-created animal protection police unit of failing to deal with all cases of animal cruelty.

They added that the role of both these bodies is advisory, with the result that in most cases their intervention does not bear fruit and animals are left at the mercy of their abusers.

In conclusion, the group said that “any official statements about respect and protection of animals do not correspond to true feelings of love and respect for animals and for the institutions of the state”.

Meanwhile, the Animal Party Cyprus celebrated eight years in existence on Thursday, and pledged to keep up its fight for the rights of animals, people and nature, in an effort to create a better future for everyone in Cyprus.

“Difficult and painful has been the work of the party over the years. It has even been difficult to convince people of the principles and values that should govern human beings with regard to animal rights, but also of the respect and compassion we ought to show to all of our creator’s creations,” the party said in a statement to mark its anniversary.

The party promised to continue their work towards educating locals in an effort to improve the general mindset on the island towards animals and try to help curb some of the outdated customs and traditions which victimise animals – including the slaughter of animals without the use of anaesthesia and the exploitation and abuse of animals in any form. The party also noted some of their successes since their establishment, noting the banning of the Kosher method of animal slaughter in Cyprus.