The Greens have condemned the attack on a three-year-old by a Savannah cat – a hybrid between a domestic cat and a serval – as the party pointed to a lack of regulation on the importation of wild animals.
Local media reported that the cat was being kept at a residence in Limassol but escaped after its owner left the door open, then making its way to the apartment where it attacked the young child.
The incident occurred on Sunday but was first reported in the media on Tuesday.
The animal welfare police unit said the issue is mainly the priority of the veterinary services, denying that there was an issue of animal welfare at play. It is investigating the issue in coordination with police.
The Greens in a statement on Wednesday said that the child was still receiving treatment at a clinic and blamed loose regulation for the attack.
“The attack… again raises the issue of a lack of a legal framework in regard to the importation of wild animals to Cyprus as pets or in public or private zoos,” the party said.
Charis Iossifides of the Greens urged the veterinary services, the agriculture department and customs to again revisit the issue of exotic animals being imported.
In May 2020, the cabinet approved a set of regulations specifying which animals can be sold as pets and ensuring their welfare while in pet shops.
“To date, there has been no regulatory framework on the operation of pet shops and the good living conditions of the animals, nor any regulation concerning the species or categories of pets that are allowed to be sold or owned as such,” Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said at the time.
Gaps in legislation have allowed the import of all kinds of animals as pets, including crocodiles, monkeys and dangerous snakes.