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Cabinet approves bill toughening dog ownership

Dogs
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Procedures to decrease the number of stray dogs will be included in the bill aiming to revise the national dogs law approved by cabinet on Wednesday, eight days after a stray dog attack against a boy in Limassol.

The bill aims to clarify the responsibilities of the authorities involved and to make the implementation of the law more effective, the agriculture ministry said in a written statement.

It introduces more direct procedures and penalties which will allow for out-of-court settlement of offences and will act to promote responsible ownership and tackle the “huge problem” of stray dogs, the ministry said.

It added that the bill will also improve how stray dogs are managed, emphasising adoption, the process for securing a dog ownership licence, the marking and registration of dogs and the transfer of ownership of the animal.

Through the bill, improvements will also be made for the more effective management of emergencies involving dangerous dogs.

The news was announced about a week after an eight-year-old boy was attacked by stray dogs near his home in Ayios Ioannis, Limassol. The boy had to undergo surgery and was hospitalised in serious but stable condition at the Makarios children’s hospital.

Following the incident, the Animal Party slammed authorities, saying the attack is yet another incident stemming from the government’s inaction to enforce the relevant law.

According to the ministry, the new bill amendment, which was formulated by the veterinary services following public consultation, will be tabled in the coming days in parliament. There, MPs are expected to make further adjustments and improvements to its provisions.

“A special effort has been made to ensure that the bill considers public opinion to a large extent and reflects the views submitted,” the agriculture ministry said.

In its final form, the bill was drafted in consultation with the union of Cyprus municipalities and the union of Cyprus communities, which represent the local authorities that have the main responsibility for the implementation of the dogs’ law, and with the minister of interior, who has the political responsibility for the law.

 

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