Friday, 29 April 2016 14:43

What to do about that barking or neglected dog

Many dogs are left alone and/or on balconies all day Many dogs are left alone and/or on balconies all day

Constantly barking and neglected dogs are not uncommon on the island. Apart from obvious concerns for the animal’s welfare, there is also the citizen’s welfare whose peace is persistently disturbed.

During a recent visit to the Limassol District Veterinary Services, Acting Limassol District Veterinary Officer Constantinos Economides clarified various important points for the readers of The Cyprus Weekly.

Who’s in charge?
Each district’s veterinary services are responsible for animal welfare, while the police and local authorities are responsible for human welfare. Barking dogs, for example, are a matter of human welfare as the noise presents a disturbance for humans. “Barking is a natural behaviour of a healthy dog,” says Economides.

Veterinary services should only be contacted when a case concerns animal welfare. In this case, an inspector will perform an on-the-spot inspection and talk to the owner about the regulations as stated in the animal welfare law and then carry out follow-up visits to see the animal in question.

Where dogs are concerned, these regulations include specifications for food and health, a certain required length of a chain, size of house and/or cage. “Usually dog owners will comply with the rules, often it is a matter of knowledge or financial means,” explains Economides.

The Limassol Veterinary Services is located near the new port and has three sections: the Public Health Section in charge of controlling all establishments producing food of animal origin, the Animal Health Section in charge of education, control and eradication of diseases and the Animal Welfare Section which handles the welfare of pets and farm animals in line with EU legislation.

The Limassol office has 14 inspectors and 6 veterinarians, of which 3 and 1 respectively are in charge of animal welfare. There are several cases reported every day which are all followed up, however, “Things are gradually improving, as people are slowly becoming more educated on animal welfare terms,” says Economides who is a trained veterinarian and at the services since 2002. The Limassol District Veterinary Office can be contacted at 25 819512.

A separate set of laws falls within the responsibilities of the local municipalities. This is the dog law, which outlines the requirements made of a dog owner such as registering the animal and getting it microchipped. The municipality is also in charge if dogs are not kept in hygienic conditions.

Local police
Meanwhile Limassol Divisional Police Commander Solomos Solomou confirmed that people should contact the local police first if they feel disturbed by a neighbour’s dog. For the last six months, community police officers have been in charge of animal matters — many of them pet owners themselves.

These officers will follow up on a complaint and then decide whether they need to get the municipality and/or the veterinary services involved. This special unit of community police officers will also give re-commendations on what can be done to reduce disturbance. “Generally good care and good training can avoid excessive barking,” says Elena Ermogenidou, Head of Community Police at Ayios Ioannis.

When calling the police’s island-wide Citizens’ Helpline (1460) with an animal issue, callers should specify that they wish to talk to a community police officer in charge of animal issues. The police headquarters at 22607427 can also provide callers with relevant numbers between 7am-3pm.

If no solution is found, citizens also have the possibility of making an official statement so that a case will go to court.

“However, we urge citizens to take the responsibility of having a pet seriously and make sure it is well kept, so that the animals and the neighbours are happy,” says the Divisional Police Commander of Limassol, Solomos Solomou.

Who to contact

Limassol District Veterinary Office: 25 819512
Veterinary Public Health Division: 22 805215
Animal Health and Welfare Division: 22 805249
Nicosia District Veterinary Office: 22 805241
Larnaca District Veterinary Office: 24 821275
Ammochostos District Veterinary Office: 24 824555
Paphos District Veterinary Office: 26 821261

Click here for the State’s Veterinary Services.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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