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21 May, 2024
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Op-ed: The shooting of a dog and the non pet-friendly destination of Cyprus

'The culture of a state is reflected in the way it treats its animals'



by Pavlos Xanthoulis

In mid-November, community authorities found another abandoned dog in the ‘wine villages’ around the mountains of Limassol. This has become an all-to-common sighting usually resulting from unconscientious “hunters” who leave their dogs in the mountains or surrounding ravines.

Well done! We are such a state! Whoever kills an animal, in any horrible way he chooses, can pay a fine and get away with it.

This, however, was different. According to our sources, this dog, in addition to being abandoned was also shot in the genitals. Yes, in the genitals! And according to the same sources, community authorities called on the veterinary services to locate the dog and essentially had to euthanize the poor animal due to its condition.

The incident shows how unconscientious some people can be, who either deliberately shot the dog, or did so accidentally and then just abandoned it. But, even more so, it highlights the inefficiencies of the Cypriot state. Government and Parliament, which with its outdated laws, allow pet owners, hunters and non-hunters to treat animals in an inhumane way.

The intentional shooting of a dog in the genitals should be punishable by several years in prison. It should be considered a heinous crime, given the horrible behavior against a helpless creature, which according to psychologists is related to the manifestation of similar behaviors towards human beings.

However, the Cypriot state, at the level of government and Parliament, has set penalties that cannot be considered dissuasive. For the first conviction of animal abuse, a fine of up to 10,000 euros could be imposed, and for a second conviction up to 20,000 euros. That is, if the unconscientious man who shot the dog in the genitals had been arrested and the court had ruled that the incident was not due to a simple accident, but aimed to kill the dog, then he could be fined up to 10,000 euros. And if he does it again, he will be asked to pay 20,000 euros the next time.

Well done! We are such a state! Whoever kills an animal, in any horrible way he chooses, can pay a fine and get away with it.

While in Greece, which we follow on other issues, the torture and killing of an animal are considered a crime and punishable by up to 10 years in prison plus a fine of 25,000 to 50,000 euros. This is because animal torture is now considered a crime in Greece.

In Cyprus, "we live in the clouds". Not only on this issue but with others. We do not put our soul into anything we do. We just want to be formally correct. And so, although we are supposed to love dogs, we do nothing to protect them, as a state. Not only on the issue of penalties for cruelty but also on issues related to their care and treatment. We allow hunters to have as many dogs as they want and put them in cages, knowing that they will spend their entire lives there. In a cage!

I do not believe that Averof Neophytou, Stefanos Stefanou, Nikolas Papadopoulos, Marinos Sizopoulos and Charalambos Theopemptou are not able to sit down with Costas Kadis to find solutions. All together. For the good of the animals, but also for the image of the Cypriot state. As Ghandi said wisely, “the culture of a state is reflected in the way it treats its animals”. One could also compare how we treat animals today to society’s view on slavery a few decades ago, as a black man once wrote so eloquently on his placard “if you want to know where you would have stood on slavery, look where you stand on animal rights”.

Will we do something about it? Or will we remain spectators? What do the government and the parliamentary parties say?

[This opinion piece was translated to English from its Greek original] 

Cyprus  |  animals  |  pets  |  cruelty

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