The plight of abandoned dogs in Cyprus has taken a turn for the worse, according to officials from the Municipality of Nicosia and a local pound that houses strays collected by multiple authorities in the Nicosia district. The situation has been exacerbated by not only constant abandonment but also a decrease in international adoptions due to efforts being diverted to rescuing strays from Ukraine.
Nektaria Arsenoglou, President of the Cyprus Veterinary Association, stressed the importance of dog owners complying with the law by microchipping their pets and obtaining dog licenses.
Michalis Papadakis, overseeing stray dogs for the Municipality of Nicosia, highlighted how the situation deteriorated significantly after the surge in dog ownership during the pandemic lockdowns. The situation escalated from there.
The central pound, shared by Nicosia, Aglantzia, Strovolos, Lakatamia, Engomi, and Agios Dometios, was designed for 70 dogs but currently houses over 100. Expansion plans are underway, although Papadakis argued that building more shelters isn't a definitive solution as many dogs end up staying there for prolonged periods, which may not be optimal for their well-being.
Papadakis acknowledged the decline in foreign adoptions, particularly from the UK post-Brexit and due to the crisis in Ukraine. He emphasized the necessity of stricter legislation on animal abandonment and the enforcement of fines for violations. Addressing the root issue, he advocated for promoting spaying/neutering to control the population.
Alexandros Oriettas, caretaker at the unified pound managed by "Simba Animal Aid Cyprus," described this as the "worst year in a decade" for abandonments. He pointed out that the problem persists year-round, with larger dogs staying longer in the pound compared to smaller ones that are more readily adopted.
Oriettas stressed the urgency of reducing births, especially until the high number of strays is under control. He encouraged people to adopt instead of purchasing dogs, emphasizing the importance of responsible pet ownership.
[Information sourced from CNA]