Cyprus Mail

Stray dog crisis ‘worse than ever’

Stray dogs (file photo)

Hundreds of animals are being poisoned on a daily basis and the stray dog crisis is worse than ever, according to the Cyprus Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA).

Toulla Poyiadji, head of the CSPCA, warned that those responsible must get the situation under control as it is harming society on multiple fronts.

“Malnourished and abused as they are, stray dogs are attacking moufflon, chickens, rabbits, sheep and even cats – while cases of rabies and the reappearance of echinococcus does not seem to worry the veterinary services and the relevant ministry,” she told local media on Monday.

Poyiadji warned that all shelters are full – with stray dogs wandering through villages, cities, the buffer zone and the mountains.

She said that the government’s proposal to set up five additional shelters – one in each district – is inadequate and does not offer a real solution to the problem of stray dogs.

She also emphasised that the relevant authorities are the agriculture ministry, the veterinary services and the recently established animal police protection unit and municipal authorities.

Poyiadji lamented, however, that the authorities are either underperforming or insufficient.

“In the few cases where they do go out to the area where a complaint has been made they are limited to only advising – the local authorities up until now have not managed to impose the law.

“Local authorities admit and state that they cannot implement the law due to the close family ties or close links which exists between the residents and the local authorities,” she explained.

Poyiadji stressed that most dogs are not registered, and no checks whatsoever are being carried out as to whether a dog’s living conditions are adequate.

Elsewhere, she said that the government’s cat sterilisation programme is wholly inadequate and leads to people poisoning stray cats, with hundreds of such incidents occurring each day.

Animal protection and safety laws have been in place for years and decades but no official or authority has respected them, she concluded.

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