After what has been a dramatic few months for the
Argos sanctuary and still with little or no support
from the Cyprus Government.
Argos President Stella was forced to issue the sad
news that without serious financial aid the sanctuary
would be forced to close.
The statement caused an immediate outcry from animal
loving supporters everywhere and the media were quick
to follow up on the story.
In the following statement she outlines the reasons
for the increasing debts and stresses the need to act
Dear friends and supporters
Recently, Argos circulated an email and a petition
which has gone right around the world, that the
shelter is on the brink of closure unless government
and public aid is given to help pay bills incurred
by the building of the animal shelters.
People are wondering how it is possible that the
association has gone into so much debt so quickly.
It’s not difficult really when one considers that
this situation faced by all shelters is caused by
the irresponsible actions of the public who dump
their animals and expect the shelters to take on
their responsibilities and do not care to
contemplate how the shelter will survive so heavy a
burden. As a result of the daily dumping of unwanted
animals on our doorstep, the shelter is home to 150
dogs and over 100 cats.
The Argos centre is a ‘no kill’ shelter, a
sanctuary for the scores of unwanted, sick and
injured dogs, puppies, cats and kittens that require
proper living conditions, sustenance, medical care,
cleaning and constant care. Faced with a ‘fait
accompli’, immediate and necessary steps had to be
taken to provide adequate shelters to protect the
animals, not only from themselves but also from the
harsh climatic conditions. Cats and kittens have
separate living quarters; puppies must be separated
from older and bigger dogs with their own puppy
The sick animals need a sick bay, the arriving
pregnant females need a separate area to give birth
and nurse their young. The animals that need
post-operative care also require a separate area to
convalesce. If these minimum requirements are not
implemented, then the shelter becomes a suffering
hellhole for the animals instead of a safe haven for
them and we may as well just leave them on the
An amount of over €250,000 has been spent on the
shelter buildings and we have only touched the
surface. The daily running costs of the shelter
which amount to €200 per day to cover, staff,
veterinary bills, medication, food, cleaning
materials, utility bills, taxes, car running costs,
insurance cover etc. are not included in the above
With no state support, the shelters subsistence
relies solely on the income from our charity shops,
fundraising, adoptions, sponsorships and public
donations. Unfortunately, as a result of the credit
crunch, we have experienced a serious decline in our
income from public donations, our charity shops and
even in pet food donations in our supermarket
We take our responsibilities seriously and as it is
not our wish to abandon these animals again, we
stress the need for both the public and the
governments support to help us continue in our
mission. The public had to be made aware of the
immense difficulties faced, not only by the Argos
shelter but also by all animal shelters. It is a
fact that animals have never been at the top of
anyone’s agenda and in a financial crisis, they are
the first to suffer, whether it is in the family pet
being dumped at the shelter or the donating public
considers that this is an expense they can do
without. The shelters are not dumping grounds for
undesirable pets so that people can off-load their
responsibilities and ease their conscience.
The care of animals is a joint responsibility and
as stewards of God’s creations, we have a duty of
care towards them; one part takes on the role of
physically caring for them (animal welfare
societies) and the other part helps to provide the
means for this care (the public and the provide a
necessary and demanding community service in all
aspects of animal welfare.
Since the circulation of this announcement, we have
had tremendous financial and moral support from the
public, both at home and abroad. As a result of the
public outcry to help the shelter continue
operating, the government coughed up the overdue
2008 grant, not only to Argos but also to all the
animal shelters. Individuals, groups and schools
have pledged their support and continue to raise
much-needed funds in support of the shelter. This
wonderful support has given us the impetus we needed
to become solvent again.
On behalf of the committee and members of Argos, I
would like to thank the few volunteers who continue
to offer their services to the animals, to the staff
who work under harsh and difficult conditions with a
miserly salary, to all those who have believed in
the worthiness of the animal cause and helped us to
continue helping our animal companions. United we
can make a difference in the lives of animals. We,
who are their voice, thank you for your continuing
Please keep up the good work and if you have any
fund raising ideas that can help us to continue with
making Argos a success then we would love to hear
from you. It’s a huge mountain to climb and we still
have a very long way to go but with your continued
support we can get there.
Fund raisers this season ranged from a Halloween
party to a Dhekalia dash.
Volunteers Sandy and Phil
as usual took the lead in this area arranging amongst
other things a successful race night which raised €813
and a fun packed Halloween night Transforming the Lodge on the Dhekalia Road
into the spooky setting for the party.
Lou, Nick and Greg from
The Lodge decorated the room with forest scenes, bats,
skulls and even a coffin. Marion
was on hand to provide card readings in the style of
Mystic Meg and Ross Neil
donned his Dracula make up and provided the live
entertainment for the evening also completely free of
charge. Most partygoers dressed in costume and helped
make the night a
Thanks to all those who donated raffle prizes and
supported the event with special thanks to Lou, Nick,
Ross and all the staff at The Lodge who made the
evening go without a hitch. A grand total of €1,013
Our resident ‘Jim’ll fix it’ has also begun work on
both the new puppy runs and boarding cattery. The
boarding cattery, which will generate much-needed
funds for Argos, hopes to welcome its first guests at
Christmas time and will initially cater for up to ten
cats and ten dogs.
World Animal day on 4th October
World Animal day not only raised money for the
sanctuary but put the
spotlight on us as TV crews were on hand to film the
planting of new trees in the grounds.
Visitors included representatives from other
charities who came to see the progress and show
support in working alongside Argos to make Cyprus a
safer and more caring country for animals to live in.
At the end of the year our calendar (although
hampered by printing issues) has raised
over €4000. Carolina Alotus provided us with the
beautiful photographs. Left over calendars
were swapped in a “cans for calendars “ exchange
outside Carrefour supermarket. Carrefour,
who have always been great supporters of Argos,
allowed Volunteers Sandy and Jo to stop
shoppers as they entered the store. Around 70 cans
were donated towards feeding the 200 plus
We would also like to thank the many outside
supporters who have donated to Argos and organized
events over the last few months such as Argos
supporter Mac and Hazel
Malloch. Part of the talented duo Mac and
Hazel, her musical evening in Potamos Restaurant in Xylofagou village back in
September raised a fabulous €211 for the charity.
Argos continues to spread its family throughout
Europe and gain support from all around the world.
From Arizona supporter and web expert Philippos has
set up a second Facebook page raising awareness of the
charity and aiming to reach as many people as
Our German link with CYDRA (Cyprus dogs re homing
association) continues to be hugely successful.
Volunteer Sandy and Helen from CYDRA have done amazing
work re homing yet more lucky dogs with new owners in
46 dogs have now gone to Germany and Sandy has set
herself a target of 50 by March. We also now have
Argos dogs in Sweden. Argos supporter Carolina Alotus and
friends have been active in Cyprus, rehoming dogs to
Sweden from different shelters around Cyprus for a
long time. Freeway, Mandy Jenny and Lola were the
happy three who were chosen and are now settled in
their new Swedish homes.
And from Switzerland
We have wonderful support from the Iselin family. In
2008, Clyde & Francescka Iselin, together with
their two children, visited the Argos sanctuary whilst
holidaying in Cyprus.
The whole family fell in love with the animals and
the one visit quickly turned into daily volunteering
to help with the chores at the shelter. When they left
to go back home to Switzerland they took with them a
kitten called Miss Swarovski named after the diamond
studded collar she wore.
Like many others before them after one visit to the
sanctuary the family found it hard to forget. Daughter
‘Alie’ (pictured) decided to do a 5th grade project at
the Grade school Seegraben, Zurich.
Alie spoke about her volunteering experience at the
shelter, how Argos needed money to build shelters for
the numerous unwanted animals arriving at the shelter
on a daily basis. Alie (Alannah) raised €388.29. We
thank Alie for her sensitivity and her wonderful
initiative to help the Argos animals.
Marina a former volunteer at the shelter and long
time Argos supporter
has set up her own Oroklini based pet grooming
service. Putting her dog show experience to good use
she has been helping to make sure that many of our
dogs heading for Germany arrive looking their very
best. Marina is generously offering anyone who adopts
a dog or cat from Argos their first appointment for
Marina can be contacted on 96336175.
Ray has reported good progress on the rehoming of
dogs. Puppies continue to be popular but we have also
seen quite a few of our adult dogs find new families,
amongst them little Jet who after an entire life at
the sanctuary has finally found a home she approves
With some juggling Ray seems to have found the right
mix within the dog runs and as the dogs grow used to
their routine and familiar faces, fighting happily
seems to be a far rarer occurrence these days.
Mr Big moves on
We were delighted in October when our very own heavy
weight Rocky finally found a home. As with all the
large dogs at the sanctuary it is always a harder task
to find the perfect home. We do not want our big guys
to end up as tethered up guard dogs doomed to life on
the end of a chain so we will always hold out for the
right home. Rocky hit the jackpot when dog lovers
Bobbie and Michael spotted him.
Now re-named Bones he has settled in well at his new
home in Dhekelia. Both Bobbie and Michael absolutely
understood the needs of a big dog and responsibility
involved. Bones is a strong dog that had spent his
life at the sanctuary so needed an owner that would
take the time to train him. He is also an extremely
intelligent dog and already understands his
Large dogs can become bored easily and possibly
destructive if not stimulated by play and exercise so
the daily 5 km runs which are part of soldier Michaels
daily routine are no problem for Bones and he has
already learnt to stay close and run by Michaels side.
Despite his size Bones play fights gently with the
boys and time amongst so many other dogs at the
sanctuary means he is sociable with other local dogs.
Despite having lived outdoors all his life Bobbie told
us that Bones always goes to the door when he needs
the toilet and never tries to escape.
As with all army families there is always the chance
of a new posting to another country.We see several
animals come to the shelter when families leave and
have not made the necessary plans or put aside money
for such a situation. Yet again though Bobbie and
Michael are one step ahead and have already taken
steps to ensure that Bones really is theirs for life
and not just for Christmas! “It breaks my heart
when these families take the dogs on but don’t want
the responsibility of actually keeping them with
them. Bones has his pet passport now and in June he
will legally be allowed to leave Cyprus”.
The rewards of owning this gentle giant are
supersized too, as Bobbie says “Everyday he
surprises us by doing something new he is truly the
most loyal, affectionate and wonderful dog and we
adore him. We hope we make him as happy as he makes
Volunteer Norma is now taking on the majority of
responsibility for the smooth running of the cat area.
I asked her about recent progress and plans for the
near future Since our last news letter The Quarantine
block has been completed and become fully operational.
Up to around 20 sick or injured animals can be cared
for at one time in this warm and safe environment.
Most recently it has housed mainly cats suffering
from the cat flu virus, which is an air borne disease
which spreads rapidly at this time of year. The
vaccination program being overseen by Norma and
visiting vet Maria Kefalas will hopefully mean that we
see less of this particular illness in the future.
We are grateful for the donation of 50 cat flu
vaccinations from Nicosia vet Xenophon Diaouris. Along
with the vaccinations we are also continuing to neuter
and Spay all cats once they reach maturity and are
currently sending on average 3 cats per week to be
operated on at Maria’s surgery in Paralimni.
Norma has also been working hard to update the cat
records and devise a more thorough system of
monitoring every cat’s history.
All kittens are now showing off smart new collars and
have photographic ID cards, each with a thorough
description including distinguishing marks. These will
help us to be able to give more comprehensive
histories of each cat to potential new owners. Our
group of blind cats has now increased to 6.
Volunteers are careful to give extra attention to
these cats at meal times and all 6 are fully able to
find their way around their now familiar surroundings.
Our sponsorship program launched from Nicosia by our
good friends the Argos Sponsorship Officers, Nikos
Kountouris and Angelos Pourgourides are providing
vital funds for the extra need of these cats along
with the several one eyed cats, our 2 three legged
cats and several more difficult to home dogs.
Brick by Brick
The ever busy Jim who is called on to fix everything
from a dodgy lock to a hole in the fence has been
dividing his time between both dog and cat areas over
the last few months. He brought me up to date on
recent developments around the sanctuary.
Putting his building skills to the test has been the
new boarding block. Already playing host to several
boarders, the smart new building will generate vital
income for the sanctuary and has the capacity to hold
up to 17 single animals or a family of up to 4
animals in each of the 5 large rooms.
Vital work was also needed in the kitten area where
Jim’s main problem was flooding. Pipes have been laid
and once concreted the area will stay dry and be far
easier to clean thanks to the new “soak away” and
A brand new kitten house is also completed which will
give new kittens the same warmth and comfort as the
cats in the main cattery. The next big project will be
the building of
brick kennels in the dog and puppy runs. After the
recent storms, flooding caused severe
damage to the runs as a torrent of water gushed down
the hillside bringing with it huge
amounts of earth. Phil, Ray, George and Jim undertook
the back-breaking work of shifting
literally feet of wet soil and clearing the huge pools
of water that had collected
in the bottom of the runs.
The new brick built kennels will provide both warmth
and shade throughout
the year and be a far safer structure should severe
weather strike again. Soon to be started will also be
be a designated area within the cat sanctuary for cats
affected by ringworm and ear mites. These highly
contagious diseases require daily treatment over a
long period of time.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the
many individuals and
companies that have helped to make all this building
» Concrete from Koterou Bros., Skyrodema
Ltd in Sotira.
» Building materials from P Kollanis and sons
» Cement blocks from Mixed & Press Ltd,
» Wood from Liotatis Bros Ltd , Paralimni.
» Carpentry services from Sotos Yiannis,
» Sanitary ware from Chr. Agathocleous Ltd,
» Solar systems from Floga Ltd Nicosia.
» Aluminium doors and windows from Chri Ste Co.
» Tents from Techno tent – C Georgastos,
Paralimni and finally
» Design and drawings from Reinhold Siegrist of