The Animal Party said this week that three dog shelters were to close down within the next two to three months and called on the government to expedite plans for the creation of community animal shelters.

The party said that the three shelters, run by volunteers, are closing down either because they were unable to meet legal operating standards or landowners want their properties back and shelters are unable to purchase land elsewhere.

‘Where are they going to get the money to buy land?” the party’s chairman Kyriacos Kyriacou asked the Sunday Mail. He said the state ought to help these volunteers either lease Turkish Cypriot land to house their shelters or expedite plans for the creation of community shelters.

Kyriacou said the increased state aid given last year to shelters to help them comply with safety and hygiene regulations did not go far enough.

“They must pay thousands in medical bills, pay bills, buy animal feed. They are not state employees, they are volunteers. Their job is not to cover the state’s shortcomings,” Kyriacou said.

Kyriacou said that the situation as regards stray dogs has somewhat improved but unless state authorities start to thoroughly check whether hunters microchip their dogs, and decide to actually enforce the law obliging owners of female dogs to register them, little will change.

“On one hand the state promotes neutering and spaying but on the other it allows anyone to just give away or sell puppies,” Kyriacou said.

He said the party is thinking of setting up its own ‘animal police’ with volunteers along the same lines as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) whereby volunteers would help police in cases of animal abuse.

He said the free dog-microchipping programme was a positive step but it was not easy for owners to take their dogs to the designated veterinary offices especially since the service is available only every Tuesday and Thursday from 8.30am until 2 pm when most people are at work.

Kyriacou also criticised the fact that the state would pay out the €75,000 for the cat neutering scheme in March as by then most female cats are already pregnant or would have given birth.

Citing veterinarians, he said that cat neutering would be best carried out before the kitten season begins.


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