News 2010

Making Headlines

mouths-to-feed

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 fast.

 

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 runs.

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 streets.

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 amount.

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 containers.

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 support.

Stella Stylianou

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

spooky-gang
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 howling success.

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 was raised.

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

a shed

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.

Our Calendar

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 hungry mouths.

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.

 

Going Global!

mandy

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 possible.

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 Germany.

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

alie

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.

 

Other news

jet

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 free.

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 of!

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

beautiful-betty-dreamin'

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 boundaries.

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 us”.

 

Cat Chat

norma

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

jim

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 drainage system.

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.

Special Thanks

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals and companies that have helped to make all this building work possible:

» Concrete from Koterou Bros., Skyrodema Ltd in Sotira.
» Building materials from P Kollanis and sons Ltd Paralimni.
» Cement blocks from Mixed & Press Ltd, Xylofagou.
» Wood from Liotatis Bros Ltd , Paralimni.
» Carpentry services from Sotos Yiannis, Lefteris, Dherinya*.
» Sanitary ware from Chr. Agathocleous Ltd, Nicosia.
» Solar systems from Floga Ltd Nicosia.
» Aluminium doors and windows from Chri Ste Co. Aluminiu, Paralimni.
» Tents from Techno tent – C Georgastos, Paralimni and finally
» Design and drawings from Reinhold Siegrist of Paralimni.