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 2013 monthly updates.







Dogs


New                     
 16  
Chocco, Piper, Ray, Gino, Rooky, Rosita, Chicco, George, Siena, Ronny, Maila, Chris, Buster, Neko, Noel, Tito
Total Rehomed
 12

Breakdown
Died                  


Cyprus
2      
Rooky, Conan
Germany
9
Nanuk, Emma, Molly, Clipper, Romeo, Libby, Harry, Toby, Belinda
UK
1
Piper
Belgium



Cats

New 3  
Gem, Merle, Chryssi (sibbling kittens)                                                
Total Rehomed 8     

Breakdown
Cyprus         
7   
Minnie, Macey, Sharon, Mowgli, Gem, Patty, Venus
UK
1
Tilly (assisted flight)
Died




Presidential Palace Conference.

On Wednesday 4 December 2013 the president of the Republic hosted a conference of all the NGO’s and non-profit organisations of Cyprus to hear their problems relating to their operational efficaciousness.  The Commissioner of Volunteerism was also present in light of the new upcoming revised Law governing all charitable organisations and the purpose of the conference was to give the opportunity to each organisation to raise the problems they encounter relating to their individual activities.
Each organisation raised its problems and put forward suggestions for the desired changes.  Although we have not yet viewed the proposed amendments to the new charities Law, we have been advised that by definition of the legal requirements of registering as a charitable organisation, many of these already in existence, will probably not qualify.  Those organisations qualifying will be listed on the approved state register and the public will be aware of the bona fide organisations.  Once we have read through the new proposed Law, we will let everyone know what benefits the organisations will have and the requirements for being accepted as a charitable organisation/ institution.

Greens Update - Meeting with the Attorney General.


On Monday 30 December the Green Party had their first official meeting with the new Attorney General.   Taking the opportunity, Mr. Perdikis asked Mr. Clerides to send a circular to all the police departments and to his prosecutors, to be more severe with crimes against animals.  Not knowing whether Mr. Clerides was animal friendly or not, at any rate, he immediately accepted the idea and said characteristically that, “we must be severe in the enforcement of the Law, whether this involves humans or animals.” 
He was advised of the recent incidences of animal abuse and we asked him to issue instructions so that the cases are not whitewashed.  


Portraits for Life – Chrystalla Kyriacou.


Our long-time volunteer and supporter, fashion photographer Chrystalla Kyriacou has amazed us once again with her exceptional work in the ‘Portraits for Life’ series that she has dedicated as a fund-raiser for the Argos sanctuary.  
The ‘Portraits for Life’ Chrystalla says, ‘is a specific ongoing project that will happen every year in support of Argos.’  Chrystalla started the project idea in May 2013 and by the end of the year she had completed 17 sessions raising a phenomenal €2550.  Chrystalla not only gives a lot of her time to prepare for these sessions but a lot of her own money as well.
As a professional and perfectionist in her work, Chrystalla spends a lot of time with each session and it takes many clicks of the camera until she is satisfied with the right photo content.  Chrystalla is no ordinary photographer but a talented and proficient artist whose photographs have a vivacity that speak a thousand words.  The captured expressions of adoration and the  deportment of both subjects expresses that special relationship that bonds the two together and animates these lovely photos.   This is the true mark of a professional and evident from just a few samples of the appended work she has done in support of Argos.
Thank you Chrystalla for your friendship, for your love of animals and for your constant and loyal support of the shelter (attached sample from 2nd session)


Argos Grooming Salon.


In October this year we put the final finishing touches to our new building addition, the much required pet grooming salon. To some it sounds like a luxury and the moment we publicly announce its opening, we will probably be assailed with comments of, ‘why use money for such luxuries when you can spend it on feeding the animals,” or “in this time of financial crisis, money should be used sparingly and wisely,”
Well, let me explain why and how this grooming salon materialised. Why - Animals at a shelter need constant grooming, whether it is bathing, clipping to reduce hair during the sweltering Summer months, nail clipping to prevent distortion of their feet, ear cleaning to remove excess hair that coupled with grit and humidity, increases the chances of ear infections and of course, general grooming to make them feel comfortable and when they are rehomed so they go to their new families clean, manicured and sweet smelling.  The grooming reception is also a small shop providing an outlet for some pet accessories and we hope that with its promotion it will eventually bring in an income for the shelter.  Before this, we had to pay for this service which was costing us money, so by having our own on-site grooming, both our animals and the organisation benefits from this facility.
How – since the lowly beginnings of the Argos organisation and the realisation of the shelter, we have come a long way to bringing this entire project to completion.  This could not have been achieved without the input of dedicated volunteers who have given many man hours to help the animals and the cause.  One of these volunteers is our resident Jim Flemming who has been with us since the onset of the sanctuary and has built 95% of the shelter.  Most of the materials we already had, some were donated and minor bits and pieces bought.  The internal furnishings, with the exception of the hairdryer, the grooming table, the sterilising unit and the clippers, were donated.  They were not donated specifically for a grooming salon but over the years we stored them until they were ready to be put to use (attached photos).  Our appreciation of Jim’s input is much overdue but not forgotten.



Monthly updates for November 2013.


Dogs

New                              
18      
Ruby, Rocky, Ringo, Rambo, Toby, Odie, Cora, Melini, Sonia, Nellie, Romeo, Truffles, Poppy, Harry, Bella, Perry, Balko, Milo.
Total Rehomed
22

Breakdown
Died                         
2     
Anton, Alice.
Cyprus
6
Hattie, Dancy, Prince, Charles, Odie, Perry.
Germany
8
Erin, Tyga, Georgina, Sando, Luke, Sabre, Romea, Rocco.
UK
7
Toby, Poppy, Hope, Dawn, Cassy, Mia, Melini.
Belgium



Cats

New  
3    
Troika, Christina, Tilly                                                   
Total Rehomed
4

Breakdown
Cyprus

Troika, Yogi, Ginney, Efi           
Germany


Died




American Academy School visits 21/11, 22/11 and 26/11/2013

We are always very happy to welcome student visits to the shelter and give them an insight into the extent of the stray animal population and how, as responsible owners, they can contribute to its decrease.  A total of 144 students with their teachers, visited the shelter over 3 days.  Following their tour of the shelter, we gave them a lecture on the service we provide for the benefit of the dogs and cats which at the same time, benefits the surrounding communities. 

Having seen so many animals, they were particularly interested to know how we support the shelter and upon leaving they undertook to fundraise at their school to help.  
The students were tasked to write a paper on their visit so consequently, they had many questions. 
Attached is one student’s article which was printed in the American Academy’s on-line Herald.

Commissioner for Volunteering and NGO - meeting 25.11.2013


The policy of the new President to support and modernise the volunteer movement, is enforced by the office of the Commissioner for Volunteering and Non Government Organisations.  CVA as the union of animal welfare organisations was invited to attend a meeting at the offices of the Commissioner with the aim of finding viable solutions to the many problems faced by the non government organisations. The following are the prevailing problems that CVA advised him of:
  • the vast problem of stray dogs abandoned by their owners.
  • owners do not microchip their pets making it impossible to locate owners.
  • It is left up to the onus of citizens to register their pets with the central government register instead of being the legal responsibility of the vet to do so.
  • the increasing numbers of stray cats is also a major problem.

CVA’s suggestions for improvement.

  • the implantation of the microchip should be obligatory and free of charge from the age of 3 months for the purposes of control. If the government offered free microchipping, expenses would be far  lower than what it expends now on shelter, euthanasia and cremation of the stray animal population.
  • the vet must be legally liable to register the animal on the govt. central register and if he fails to do so, must be liable under the law.
  • Local authorities must carry out a census of the dogs in their communities.
  • The establishment of an animal control unit in each district with the creation of district animal shelters to provide the infrastructure for this unit.
  • The creation of a fund for each district shelter is imperative for the running and maintenance of the facility.
  • The production of a TV spot with the aim to cultivate respect and animal welfare and Protection.

Commissioner’s suggestions.

  • Cooperation between non government organisations and local authority must be promoted so that a proper base can be set on the subject of animal welfare and protection.
  • The office of the Commissioner is preparing a study on the subject of government grants so that for the year 2014 there will be a fairer allocation with more clarity, control and information.
  • Existing Legislation on animal welfare and protection is split into many parts thereby creating a problem with law enforcement.  The office of the Commissioner is in the process of designating one ministry which will undertake the coordination for the enforcement of the Law.

European Conference for the welfare of dogs and cats within the European Union – 28.10.13.

The conference was organized by the European Committee and the Lithuanian presidency, with the support of Eurogroup for Animals, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe and Vier Pfoten International, conducted in Brussels on 28 October 2013.
The stray population of stray dogs and cats within the European Union is estimated to be over 100 million.  Whilst to many of us they offer their companionship and to others it is a pure source of income.  Some of the subjects discussed were:
= The rise in the trade of animals creates a problem in itself
=  The genetic choice, puppy farms, mutilation and the inhumane treatment are some of the subjects that generate extensive consequences for the welfare of pet animals, for public health and the protection of citizens / consumers in the entire European Union.
However, there is no specific Legislation regarding the welfare of companion animals.
The Pan-Hellenic Federation of Animal Welfare & the Environment presented their proposals on confronting the problems of the domestic animals in Greece was the lack of statutory measures and the uncontrolled breeding and trade in companion animals that result in hundreds of thousands of abandoned and unwanted animals.  
This first European conference offered to the interested parties from all social platforms ( government authorities, Non Profit Organisations and professionals) the opportunity to discuss and question the practical issues which concern the protection of companion animals, aimed at instituting a method to locate and confront the basic issues.
Resulting from this Conference was the initiation of a study relating to the welfare of dogs and cats that are used for trade purposes.  Based on the results of the study and the minutes of the Conference, the Committee will examine what further action is necessary with reference to improving animal welfare and to increasing transparency and the appropriateness of the information to citizens / consumers.
Undoubtedly the problems relating to companion animals, slowly but steadily, are being recognized by the European Committee as being of great importance and this gives us hope that this Conference will contribute to the reinforcement of this view which will bring positive actions in due course.

Carmen Tam visiting from Canada  29.11.2013.

Carmen lives in Toronto and is the owner of Fiddlefoot Photography and owner at Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner.
Carmen was so impressed after her first visit to the shelter about a year ago that she promised to come again and spend more time with the cats she loves so much.  Carmen keeps in touch and preparing for her trip to Cyprus again, she fund-raised to buy goodies for the dogs and cats.  Carmen came laden with a suitcase full of cat toys, catnip, medications, collars and loads of nibbles for the cats.  She has taken many lovely photos of our cats and promotes them as the Cyprus cats and Argos shelter and Support Argos on her facebook.
Thank you Carmen for loving our shelter enough to want to help from your side of the world.



Martina and Rolf Worthmann

own a large transport company in Germany and are part of the Hundeliebe-Grenzenlos team that support Argos.  Since the March 2013 financial crash in Cyprus, they have been sending tons of food for the dogs on a regular basis, all free.  Recently we received another ton of food for dogs and puppies and a large box of medicines, blankets, beds and toys.
Sometimes our pets cannot fly direct to Hamburg where the organisation is based so neighbouring Amsterdam is the disembarkation port.  Rolf and Martina are amongst those volunteers that drive to Amsterdam to collect the dogs and take them to a halfway house for some food and to stretch their legs before they go onto Hamburg. What wonderful people they are and how lucky we are to have their support.




Monthly updates for September 2013.

Dogs

New
6
Terry, Robby, Barra, Heidi, Sophie, Roxy.
Total Rehomed
15

Breakdown
Died                         
2    
Chloe, Cocoa
Cyprus
7
Leyna, Gipsey, Neptune, Charlie, Harry, Billy, May.
Germany
3
Ceaser, Jesse, Maizie.
UK
4
Jasmine, Terry, Nina, Bear.

Cats

New
0  
                                                                        
Total Rehomed
1

Breakdown
Cyprus
1
Millie                                   
Germany


Died




Court hearing – English setter case 12/9/13 and 24/9/13.


The court case was adjourned for the second time until January 2014 because there was no time to hear witnesses. The defence counsel has been trying to agree with the prosecution to drop some of the charges, in particular the charges of not registering the dog on the central register and had no dog licence.
The defence claimed that the majority of dog owners in Cyprus do not microchip or take out licences for their dogs therefore as nobody enforces these provisions, his client should be absolved of them! 
This is the case of an English Setter and Terrier x puppy discovered living in deplorable conditions in the Larnaca area by an American tourist.
The picture below was taken by the tourist in May 2012. The tourist spent the better part of his first week’s vacation visiting and feeding the neglected and abused animals and his efforts to find help for these dogs were fruitless.
On the weekend, two days before he was leaving the island, he tried ways of getting help for the dogs by asking charity shops in Larnaca town but they were unable to point him in the right direction. He then tried the police who also did not help him but instead advised him to contact the municipality on Monday.
Jack left with a heavy heart and very disappointed because he was unable to do anything to alleviate the suffering of these poor dogs.
Back home then, he could not forget their plight so he scoured the internet until he found the email for Cyprus Voice for Animals and as the case was in the Larnaca area, Mary Anastasi referred Jack to Argos.  I received his email on the morning of the 30th May and I went straight to the place he had described.
What we saw there was pitiful and the photos attached will speak for themselves.  We immediately alerted the police and the government veterinary services who came without delay and ordered the confiscation of the dogs.
Both dogs were taken to the Argos shelter and subsequently taken to the vet for blood tests and check-ups.
Roo, the English Setter was diagnosed with erlichiosis and mange.  He had open sores on his chest and one large one on his ear.  Both his lip and eyebrow were swollen because the cage was situated in the middle of a bee hive.
Fonzy, the black puppy was kept locked in a small plastic bird cage ( the type used to transport birds or rabbits) with a large saucepan of murky green water and bread floating on the top.  The box stank from the accumulation of excrement and urine.  The puppy developed an eye infection a few days later due to the unhealthy conditions he was subjected to.    
What the defence counsel and the accused have not yet realised that the severest charges are those of abuse and not the lighter charges of evading a licence and microchip and the defence counsel had threatened us with a lawsuit when he establishes that confiscation was done illegally!  The photo of the plastic box is where the puppy was kept locked day and night in the sweltering heat.  In the next updates you will see these 2 dogs in their present new homes and their transformation.




Nicos’ Birthday Party event at the shelter – 14/9/13.

A decision of the moment to share his birthday with the shelter animals, became a fundraising event with food donations of over 1,000 kg and cash money of €730.
Nicos’ love of animals and thoughtful idea to spend his special day at the shelter reached the media and an article of the upcoming event was in the Fileleftheros newspaper.  The response was fantastic as Nicos’ many friends came to wish him a happy birthday and instead of gifts to himself, he had asked that food for the animals be donated.  Drinks and party titbits were offered to everyone with a slice of birthday cake.  Many of the dogs were also taken for a walk and people thoroughly enjoyed the day relaxing, listening to the music mix by DJ Alexis, meeting friends and catching up with news.

Nicos Kountouris is by profession an electrical engineer and works as an air traffic controller with Cyprus Airways.  As a volunteer for Argos for over 5 years, he works extremely hard, juggling his valuable time with his extremely demanding and stressful work with arranging fundraising events, spending days photographing the animals at the shelter and as an administrator, monitors also the Argos facebook page.  He has been solely responsible for the selection, printing, distribution and sales of our giftware, T-shirts and other bric-a-brac which is another source of income for the shelter.  He is also responsible for putting together the content ( photos by courtesy of our avant garde photographer Chrystalla Kyriacou)  and printing of our annual calendar.   In short, Nicos is an invaluable asset to the organisation and an important link in the long chain that keeps the shelter afloat.  His innovative ideas, efforts and constant hard work keeps the shelter solvent.   Nicos is an active person and runs on sheer energy.  Below photo of Nicos and the large number of food donations received. 




Yioula Aradipiotou – pet groomer with a difference, Nicosia.

Amongst our close supporters is Yioula who runs her own pet grooming salon in Nicosia called ‘Dog Splash’. Yioula,  worked for many years as an air hostess for Cyprus Airways and when the time came for her to put her feet back on the ground, she needed to find another interest.  Her new career path was greatly influenced by her immense love of animals and so in a complete life change, she embarked on a pet grooming career.   It takes dedication, hard work and love to do this job and very few people can compare with Yioula in this respect.
It takes great courage to begin a new career, especially one that is competitive and in a developing market.  But Yioula’s tenacious spirit, sincerity and forthrightness were all she needed to succeed in her new chosen career.  She is passionate about animals and her home is like a small shelter full of cats and dogs and any other animal needing help that may cross her path.  She recently found a baby hedgehog which she lovingly raised.  She is happiest surrounded by her animals and her work is both rewarding and fulfilling. 
Yioula is a sincere and faithful ally and takes every opportunity to help the shelter; she donates in many different ways when she can, fundraising events are organised outside her salon and the salon is a collection point for Nicosians donating goods for our charity shops.  For the past two years Yioula has offered her services to the PetFest event and the proceeds of the days grooming have been donated to animal welfare in general. 
Yioula has gone a step further by sharing her knowledge and experience of dog grooming to teach our committee member Ernesta the art so that we can offer it at the shelter to our own dogs.  How wonderful and generous is that and how many people would consider imparting their knowledge to another for nothing!
We thank her for her constant loyal support and are honoured to be amongst her friends.
Below Yioula.




Stella



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