Livestock farmers fed up with stray and unsupervised dogs on Friday said they have filed official complaints with the authorities.

Farmers in the Peyia-Akoursos area on Thursday reported that over the last year 100 goats and sheep have been killed by dogs or had to be culled due to being mangled in attacks.

The recent outcry is only the latest in what seems to be a much wider problem, part of which is the manner in which areas for the training of hunting dogs are designated, and supervision of training.

“Some hunters simply abandon their dogs, or let them run wild,” one frustrated farmer told the Cyprus Mail. “The dogs are often starving, dehydrated and desperate, to the point where they will even tackle a sheep.”

A chicken farmer near Polis Chrysochous living adjacent to officially designated training grounds, said she had also experienced repeated attacks.

“I’ve lost about 20 birds in the past year. It is awful to find animals that you have invested money in and carefully tended, torn to shreds, wounded or carried off by packs of dogs. The authorities, police, veterinary services, the game services, muhktars alike… all seem impotent at solving the problem.”

On Friday the Animal Party called on the game service “to perform its duties as things have got out of hand.”

Paphos district Game Service Director Haris Hatjistillis told the Cyprus Mail that the crux of the problem is unchipped dogs, and blamed the veterinary services and community council leaders for not doing their share of the work to apply legislation passed two years ago.

The game service has invested €6,000 in chip scanners and issues fines daily, Hadjistillis said, adding that 33,000 dogs have been registered properly by the service since the law was approved.

“We can’t trace stray, unchipped dogs back to their owners. They could belong to hunters acting illegally, or anyone else, including farmers,” he added. “Why are we the only service actually scanning and fining people for their dogs being unchipped? Where are the veterinary services? Why aren’t they fining owners who keep loads of dogs in cages? All they do is issue warnings and by the time they return a few days later, the dogs have vanished.”

Hadjistillis maintained that the responsibility for getting dog owners to chip their animals lies with municipalities and local councils.

Paphos currently has a network of 20 areas where dogs are allowed off-leash outside game animals’ breeding seasons. Pet owners, as much as hunting dog trainers, benefit from these areas, Hadjistillis explained.

These are also used as training areas and are established in consultation with the hunters’ federation. Community leaders or residents in locations abutting these areas are not consulted unless a complaint is registered, at which point the designation comes under review the following season.

Other districts do not appear to have as many problems with this system as Paphos, the game service official said.

However, in Athienou the issue of strays is also causing problems with community leader Kyriacos Kareklas earlier this week expressing frustration with the struggle to cope with roaming strays, that have also attacked livestock.

Kareklas told the Cyprus News Agency there are plans to create a regional dog shelter in Larnaca, funded by the ministry of agriculture, while the veterinary services have offered to microchip 50 dogs.