Greens lobby Justice Minister to sway MPs on animal police

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Cyprus Greens said the government should arm-twist MPs to pass stalled legislation establishing a special unit within the police to deal with animal abuse.

The bill which is currently stuck in the corridors of parliament after being approved by the Cabinet last October, a long-standing demand of animal welfare activists.

Green MP George Perdikis asked Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis to personally intervene and persuade MPs to back the bill quickly gathering dust.

“We asked the Minister to intervene to accelerate at the parliamentary level the approval of the legislation for creating animal police.

Creating the animal police capable of handling issues and reports on the treatment and abuse of animals abuse, is a priority for us,” said Perdikis after meeting the Minister.

The bill subject to the approval of the House of Representatives was drawn up by the Justice Ministry after consultations with animal welfare NGOs, based on best practices in EU countries.

It essentially amends the law on policing to cover the establishment of a new unit at police headquarters.

Under the proposed law, designated police officers from the existing force will form a new dedicated unit to ensure animal welfare.

Police will have the power to investigate cases of animal abuse such as poisonings, any kind of cruel death, killing animals for recreational purposes, organising fights between animals or using live animals to train dogs.

Public demand for such a police unit gained popularity after a number of high-profile highlighting cruelty to dogs.

Authorised individuals of local authorities are also given special powers to protect animals under the proposed legislation.