Stella's Corner : the Latest Animal Welfare News

stella

Our regular updates start here...

On this page Argos founder Stella will regularly bring you up to date news on a wide range of subjects concerning the shelters activities and any other information that concerns animal welfare in general. Whatever the news and however it affects the shelter and its mission, our supporters have a right to know.



Dear supporters here are December 2014 monthly updates.





Dogs total number of dogs at the end of November = 123


New                 
 11  
Savannah, Polly, Calypso, Echo, Juno, Geisha, Jason, Josh, Xmas, Scottie, Annie
Total Rehomed
 11
Bentley, Ruddy, Tyrone, Pia, Gino, Brindie, Dobby, Nicos, Megan, Wendy, Louis
Breakdown
Died                   
 0    
                                                                                                       
Cyprus
 1 
Louis
Germany
 10
Bentley, Ruddy, Tyrone, Pia, Gino, Brindie, Dobby, Nicos, Megan, Wendy
UK


Switzerland


123 +11 – 11 =  123 Total number of dogs end of December


Cats Total number of cats at end of JULY = 121


New
 2   
Louise, Thelma                 
Total rehomed
 1
Louise                                                                                                          
Breakdown
Cyprus
 1
Louise                                                 
Norway


Died


121  + 2 - 1 = 122  Total number of cats end of December


Monthly Activities.


House of Representatives Dog Law reform discussion – 3.12.2014.

Following our numerous meetings with government officials on the Dog Law changes, the Attorney General’s office finally reviewed them and sent them on to the House of Representatives for the Environment Committee’s comments.  The Environment committee before approval of the changes convenes as many meetings with the relevant groups affected or who implement the Law to discuss the changes and gives the opportunity for further additions/changes to be submitted.
This was the first of such meetings and the second one is scheduled for some time in January.  The President of the Environment committee had pledged that he wanted to see this Law approved and sent to the House of Representatives for final approval beginning of 2015.  All the government representatives were in favour of the suggested changes and we as animal rights speakers, are pushing for the following, which are just a few of the many changes we have been lobbying for the past 5 years.  All the rest will be made public once the Law has been approved of course:

(1) Dog licences to be lowered for sterilised dogs to give an incentive to owners to spay/neuter.

(2) Those who refuse to sterilise their dogs will pay the normal slightly higher amount plus an additional €200 annually for a breeders licence.

(3) Banned breed dogs, namely, Pittbul, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasiliero, Japanese Tosa to have their licences reduced from €170 to the normal amount but the authorities to implement the sterilisation provision in the law, take out third party insurance and to be muzzled when taken out for walks.  If these measures are implemented then this is the slow phasing out of the breeds.

(4) We have asked for two more breeds to be added to the list of banned breeds:  Caucasian shepherd dog and Staffordshires.  Many owners avoid naming their dog’s breed to avoid the high licence fee so they are described as Staffies.  By reducing the licence fee, owners will not be afraid to name their breed. Vet’s unfortunately have been a party to these deceptions so as not to lose customers.

(5) High fine to be imposed if a vet falsifies a banned breed  on the health book.


Fundraising events.


Xmas Bazaar 07.12.14.

Organised by our handful of volunteers, we had our Xmas Bazaar with our own stalls selling Xmas gifts, toys, pet accessories, cakes and refreshments.  We had a visit from Father Simon who blessed the shelter animals and all those who care for them.  It was a wonderful experience, everybody had fun and we raised €538.







Dog Show 20.12.14.

The Paralimni Youth Cultural Club organised its first event which took place in the centre of Paralimni by the Agios Georgios Church. 
There were a few tables and the young organisers had decided to support local  animal welfare organisations by inviting them to take part, bring animals for rehoming and all their takings for the dogs that took part in the dog show, they divided amongst the animal welfare groups present at the event.  Volunteers from the Paralimni dog pound were there and also the Nicosia based PAWS, although clearly not local but they wanted to take part.  
Although there was a good turnout of people with their dogs the only purchases they made were for foodstuff – a sign of the financially difficult times.  
We did sell some of our doggy blankets and together with the Youth Club donation of €20, we raised €33 from our sales of blankets and mugs taking in a total of €53 for the two hours we were there. 
Medvets gave vouchers for free spaying/neutering and microchip for all animals adopted from the shelters present plus free microchipping for all those who came to the event with their dogs. 
Tasos Kefalas vet offered free microchipping for all animals adopted on the day.  Argos rehomed one kitten on the day.

Ormidhia ASO Cultural Club event – 21.12.14.

For the first time in our community, the young organisers invited Argos to take part in their first event which took place in the centre of Ormidhia village.  As one of the organisers said to me, ‘It is time we acknowledge and support our local animal shelter by including them in our organised events.’  It is uplifting to see that the young generation care about animals and want to support these groups, maybe not with donations of money, but at least give them the opportunity to promote their work and mission within their community. 
The event centred on the sale of handmade things like pots, hand painted vases, homemade jams, cookies and cakes but many were also selling toys and bric-a-brac.  Again, although many people came to the event they were not shopping for gifts but came to see the show which included traditional and modern dances.  We sold a couple of pet blankets and some other small items raising €23.



Introducing our volunteers.



Jo Bell

Jo Bell is a talented fashion photographer with a discerning eye for detail and aesthetics. Working on contract basis for some of the world’s famous fashion houses she gets to travel out on shoots to some of the worlds most exotic and glamorous spots that you and I always wish to visit someday.  She has also studied journalism and her articles and write-ups promoting the work of Argos are an attestation of her fluency and mastery of the English language and another talent that she should be rightly proud.  

Jo is our marketing manager and even though she has to work hard to earn a living, she still finds time during her breaks from her busy schedule to fundraise for the shelter.  Jo has a home in Cyprus and has lived over here for a few years and her first contact with Argos came after a chance meeting at an event with Sandy Exley ( our rehoming coordinator) back in 2007.  Sandy mentioned that she was a volunteer for the Argos shelter and invited Jo to come along and see it.  That was the beginning that was to change Jo’s life and quoting her own words, ‘Sandy has introduced me to my life’s mission.’

Jo’s work has taken her back to the UK but her passion for animals and her love of the Argos sanctuary has not abated her commitment to the cause and still finds time from over there to fundraise, promote Argos’ work through her contacts, home checks for us and keeps in touch with other groups in the UK who support Argos.   Every small break she has from her work, she grabs the opportunity to fly to Cyprus and spend it at the shelter, cleaning and pampering the cats.  After having said all this, I still haven’t covered a lot of other things that Jo does for the shelter and much of her hard earned money she spends to help the animals.  Jo is one of the few Argos first volunteers who like Sandy Exley and Sue Hannis, devote much of their valuable time on a daily basis coordinating their duties but also much of their income goes to helping the animals and promoting Argos’ mission.   

May you all live long and healthy lives so that we can continue our joint mission in helping the many homeless and destitute animals who depend on us to speak for them and help give them a second chance to live happy and contented lives.

Stella





July 2014 monthly updates.



Dogs total number of dogs at the end of JULY = 152


New
 8
Lucky, Bell, Ssdie, Whitney, Indie, Treacle, Goldie, Nelson
Total Rehomed
 11 
Lilly, Rosita, Molly, Stanley, Tango, Willow, Bobby, Lesley, Symphony, Zena, Lola
Breakdown
Died
 1
Patch
Cyprus
 2
Symphony, Lesley
Germany
 7
Lilly, Rosita, Molly, Stanley, Tango, Willow, Bobby
UK
 2
Lola, Zena


Cats Total number of cats at end of JULY = 119


New
 2
Zak (blind kitten) Simone (blind in one eye kitten)
Total Rehomed
 2
Christina (blind cat),  Dolly
Breakdown
Cyprus 
 2 Christina, Dolly
UK


Died
 2
Peggy Sue, Oriel             


Monthly Activities.


Meeting Cyprus Voice for Animals & Green Party with Cyprus Tourist Office 2nd July.

Following the tragic events of Billy’s horrific torture when he was thrown live into a cardboard crunching machine at the hotel Anastasia in Protaras and the subsequent demonstration, the Cyprus Tourist Office met with representatives of the Cyprus Voice for Animals and the Green Party to discuss changes in their regulations so that hotels in Cyprus will become friendlier towards animals.  Director of the Cyprus Tourist Board, Marios Hannides, stated that the attitude of the public towards domesticated animals of any country shows culture, supports tourism but also responds to human values and I consider that these facts must be supported and WILL be supported by the Cyprus Tourist Board. 
Mr. George Perdikis, Green Party MP stated that there was indeed understanding from the General Director of CTO to our requests for the Cyprus Tourist industry to become hospitable places for companion animals and their owners.  Cyprus Voice for Animals President Mary Anastasi, expressed satisfaction to the immediate response of the CTO and added that we want the best for our country and the animals and with the support of the CTO we believe we will make progress. Cyprus Voice for Animals requests immediate implementation of the announcement (photo attached) and Youtube link of the statements (in Greek but explained above).

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=STh8lTXtow8



Neighbourhood Police meeting Nicosia 16th July.


Mary Anastasi the president of Cyprus Voice for Animals organised a meeting/ cocktail party at her home for the members of the neighbourhood police of three districts, Nicosia, Larnaca and Famagusta areas to meet the members of the District Animal Welfare Committees of those three districts.  The idea was to find a common ground between the two parties to work together in solving animal abuse problems, nuisance complaints and anything else to do with animal protection and welfare.
The evening was a great success, everyone relaxed and during the course of the evening’s discussions, we heard of the difficulties the neighbourhood police have when dealing with the government veterinary services in that cases they have asked for their assistance to solve have amounted to nothing and the problems continue to persist.  It was decided that each district police would meet up with their district animal welfare committee and work towards strategies to solve problems together without involving the government veterinary services (photo attached No.5)

Minister of Justice – 25th July.


Cyprus Voice for Animals, had a meeting with Mr. Ionas Nikolaou, minister of Justice to push again for the establishment of the animal welfare police unit.  The minister stated that the at this point the neighbourhood police will be the recipients of the complaints for animal cruelty/abuse, who will in turn be the investigating body as well.  If after investigation they deem it necessary to prosecute, the case will be taken on by a coordinator who has been appointed for each district.
Cyprus Voice for Animals consider that these half measures are inadequate and will continue to lobby for the establishment of a specially trained force that will be focused solely on animal cruelty and neglect and prosecute all offenders.  Many thanks to Mr. George Perdikis, general secretary of the Cyprus Greens for setting up the meeting and for his support of animals and animal welfare societies.

Police Conference at the Police Academy July 31st.


Cyprus’ police commissioner invited animal welfare representatives to a conference to hear the various problems that are faced by the public in cases involving the implementation of the relevant animal welfare laws.  Hi selected panel heard the problems and questions posed and gave answers and/or suggestions as to how these could be solved in the future.
CVA was represented at the conference by Mary Anastasi, Stella Stylianou and Dinos Ayiomamitis and the various problems posed by CVA are as follows:


General Problems with police

  • Police and Station Sergeants decide at will whether they will proceed a case and not according to the Law. All the offences of the Animal Welfare & Protection Law are 
    criminal offences. 
  • Generally they do not proceed with cases involving animal cruelty and mislead the public.
  • Especially in case of animal poisoning and shooting they do not process the cases unless there is a suspect.
  • They differentiate between stray and animals with established owners (if a crime is committed against a stray dog they tell the public that the law does not protect them).
  • They maintain that to testify to a crime you have heard about is not valid ( in other words they will waste their time investigating the case).
  • They do not regard the members of the District Animal Welfare Committees as experts when in fact the Law states that they are advisors to the relevant authority.
  • They do not accept or regard that abandonment of an animal is a criminal offense.
  • The non-involvement of the police in District Animal Welfare meetings (as one of the relevant authorities on the implementation of the Animal Welfare Law) is not right.  The police are not informed of issues which concern their department resulting in problems not being solved and becoming chronic.
  • We need clarification as to whether the police can enter into a garden to investigate animal abuse without a warrant or whether the garden is regarded as part of the home which needs a warrant.  The situation at present is that the police maintain that they cannot even enter the gate without a warrant and stand at the gate calling to the residents afraid to enter!

CVA suggested the following corrective measures.


A protocol to be established on how police must handle each case involving public complaints.

  • Poisoning of animals
    There is already a procedure in place that can be inserted into the protocol and if necessary can be improved upon.
  • Killing of animals with firearms
    There is already a procedure in place and can be inserted into the protocol and if necessary can be improved upon.
  • District Animal Welfare Committees
    All police to be informed of the existence of these committees,  the members of which are appointed by the Minister of Agriculture and their role in the Law.  They are to be regarded as experts in their field and in the instance where the relevant authority do not follow the legal measures suggested by the committee then whose authority prevails?
  • Animals left in cars with closed or half closed windows 
    This is a criminal offence as the animal could die of heatstroke within minutes.
  • Trapping of cats
    The trapping of cats with cat traps with the aim of getting rid of them is illegal.  Permit to carry out this procedure is only given to the local authority always in cooperation with the animal welfare groups for the purposes of sterilisation and then the cats to be returned to their territory.
  • Anonymous complaints 
    Police must accept anonymous complaints.


Is there a Tiger next door?

Cyprus Greens - Request for banning the import and selling of wild animals as pets in Cyprus


On January 10th 2014 the Cyprus Green Party sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture regarding “Demand for banning the import and selling of wild animals as pets in Cyprus”  following a letter the Green Party received from a concerned citizen addressed to the Minister and accompanied by a petition with 530 signatures. 
 The Green Party in turn wrote to the Minister stating that they had joined their voice with those people because the situation with wild animals being imported in Cyprus and sold as pets, is tragic and out of all proportion because people do not know what they are dealing with and there is no competent authority to control issues arising from the escape of any of these wild animals to ensure both the safety of the public and the safety of the animals themselves.  They have requested the Ministry to take action in achieving this demand.
On July 21st, 2014 ( 6 months later) the Minister replied to the protesting citizens, with a copy to the Green Party wherein he states that he is waiting from the European Commission to prepare and apply a regulation for this phenomenon.  At the same time the Fauna and Wildlife Service is processing new regulations which he believes have a significant contribution towards achieving this goal. 
The Greens have also requested of the Ministry to advise them at what stage of preparation stands the Regulations from the European Union and the Regulations of the Ministry.

Stella





February 2014 monthly updates.


Dogs


New                     
 18  
Lesley, Lucia, Chris, Nicky, Gecko, Maddie, Boris, Danny, Nelson, Jed, Maisie, Sunshine, Bentley, Jonjo, Fendi, Shadow, Hale, Lana
Total Rehomed
 11
Nicky, Maddie, Treacle, Babs, Tyke, Milo, Cider, Nancy, Poppy, Venus, Matt
Breakdown
Died                  
 2
Lucia, Noel
Cyprus
 2      
Nicky, Maddie
Germany
 7
Babs, Tyke, Milo, Cider, Nancy, Poppy, Matt
UK
 2
Treacle, Venus
Belgium


Missing
 2
Lexie, Inca (these 2 dogs could not be contained in the shelter and kept climbing over the fence and out of the shelter.  They have been doing this for a long time but always returned to their home, the shelter.  One day they did not.


Cats

New  1
Jake (disabled cat with 3 legs)                                                                          
Total Rehomed  4    
Lazlo, Lana, Ross, Clifford
Breakdown
Cyprus         
 4  
Lazlo, Lana, Ross, Clifford                                                  
UK


Died




Argos Famagusta Cat Care Project.

On the 5th February A.F.C.C.P launches with the support of some major players.

The Argos Famagusta Cat Care Project (A.F.C.C.P) is a project that was first conceived back in 2011 as part of the various animal welfare activities of the Argos Organisation in the Famagusta area.   The projects aim was primarily to address the over population of cat colonies in hotels and to help hoteliers manage these colonies humanely.  For a project of this scale to get off the ground it requires the dedication of volunteers and so with the established network of supporters at the Argos Sanctuary we were delighted that volunteer Lyn Gandy has taken the initiative to head this project and steer it forward along with a small team that include partner Martin Dickerson and fellow animal welfare campaigners, Julie Souter and Jo Bell. 

After several lukewarm responses from hoteliers, we were delighted when Tracey Steele who represents one of UK’s largest tour operators sent out an email to her many contacts asking them to consider the proposal.  It worked and soon we had confirmation emails from many expressing an interest to participate. 
Over the winter months two hotels in Ayia Napa committed to our project, first the Atlantica Sun Garden followed shortly by the Alion Beach Hotel and this has been very successful. 

The volunteers trap the cats, take them for sterilisation and return them to the hotel colony.  A feeding station and shelter has been set up by the volunteers (funded by the hotel, as is the sterilisation of their cat colony) within the hotel grounds so that the cats will not need to wander into the restaurants and kitchens looking for food.  Photos attached of the feeding station in the Atlantica Sun Garden.   We are hopeful that many more hoteliers will come on board when they see the advantages of controlling humanely their cat population, their promotion as such on our social media platforms, on Trip Advisor and through the press.  We also believe that tourists will show the hotels involved their support.   Attached is a photo of the cat feeding station at the Atlantica Sun Garden.


NGO Law Reform – Public Dialogue – 12 February.


An initiative was taken by a group of NGO’s to host a public dialogue and inform all non-profit organisations of the impending Law reforms governing the charities law.  Members of the NGO initiative group include,  INDEX Research and Dialogue, Terra Cypria, Cyprus Association for Family Programming, BirdLife Cyprus, Association for the Development of Life Skills, NGO Support Centre and PeacePlayers Cyprus. The purpose of the group is to participate in the process review and reform of the existing legal context for the formation of a contemporary legal framework, in harmony with the demands of our time but also in harmony with European and International standards. 
The group invited legal specialists from the UK and Romania to analyse for us the proposed amendments and how these amendments would affect us.

As laymen, not understanding the legal jargon, we were shocked to be made aware of what was in store for us and words like fascistic connotations ...were heard from auditorium.   Amendments to many of the Clauses were submitted to the government and we are awaiting for sight of this revised Law before it goes to parliament for approval.


Our volunteer updates continue.......


Colin Pratt (in his own words)

My wife's name is Rosemary and we come from Weston-Super-Mare in Somerset UK, and as of today 14/03/2014 we have been married fifty five years. (I deserve a medal) ha ha.
I met her while I was home on leave from the army in Germany in 1956, she was 15 at that time and I was 18, and here we are 55 yrs later.
We ran a guest house in Weston for ten years, well Rosemary did, before we had to sell it because of her ill health, I used to work as an AA Patrolman for 20yrs before I retired
We have lived here in Frenaros now for eight years, we have three dogs which were all dumped and all are so beautiful.  I volunteered to work at Argos about four or five years ago with carpentry repairs, painting and other odd jobs because of my love for animals, and it gives me the feel good factor if I can be of help.
My hobbies are DIY and computers.

Thomas and Susanne Knobloch-Krips  (in Susanne’s own words)

We live in Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg (South of Germany). Our hobbies are walks and bicycle tours in the countryside. We love photographing, especially animals and flowers.
At the weekends we are often looking with our cameras for birds, squirrels etc. in our garden and the surrounding area. We were living with animals nearly our whole life, Thomas more with dogs and Susanne with cats. We are living with 1 cat (an approx. 12 y old black girl, called Tiger) at our home and 2 - 18 years old boy cats (brothers, called Max and Moritz) at Susanne’s mothers home. We also like to spend time with our family and friends and we enjoy being in our garden.

Whilst on holiday in Cyprus last year, Thomas and Susanne fell in love with 2 cats that visited the hotel they were staying in.  They fed them daily and kept company with them for the duration of their holiday.  When they went back home they kept in touch with hotel staff for updates on ‘their’ cats but when news of them stopped, Susanne found Argos on the internet and contacted us to try and locate them.  We tried for several days but they were not in the area. 

Susanne and Thomas would not give up so they planned another trip in February to look for them themselves. Unfortunately they were not so lucky and as always happens, when a hotel closes down for any specific time, many of its resident cats seek food elsewhere.   I met them at their hotel and took them to the shelter where they spent the best part of the morning taking it all in.  Susanne was overcome with emotion at the sight of so many unwanted dogs and cats and she cried for them.  Since returning to their home, we have kept in touch and Susanne is busy fundraising and collecting donations for Argos shelter.  We thank them for taking interest and making the time to help the shelter and its mission.






Stella



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