Cyprus is getting tougher on animal cruelty with police and the government cooperating to effectively deal with abuse by introducing stricter punishments.
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis and Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis signed a memorandum of understanding outlining specific actions that authorities, the veterinary services and the police should take concerning animal cruelty or poor welfare.
“Today, we are taking another important step in tackling animal abuse more effectively, but also for their general welfare,” said Yiolitis after signing the agreement.
“The practical implementation of the protocol that we have signed is expected to significantly improve the procedures for handling cases of neglect and animal abuse, an important tool to strengthen animal protection in our country,” she added.
The minister also acknowledged public demand for tougher penalties on people who abuse or mistreat animals, have.
Authorities are working with the police on preparing and tabling an amendment of the law establishing the Animal Police task force.
“Introducing harsher penalties for animal abuse will further contribute to curbing such crimes”, Yiolitis added that current penalties do not serve as a deterrent for animal abusers.
A bill will also introduce new offences, which can be settled out-of-court, the list of which has already been prepared.
Existing offences covered by the out-of-court settlement law will be punishable with heftier fines.
Law amendments foresee steeper prison sentences for serious offenders.
The bills amending the law on animal protection and welfare and out-of-court settlements have already been prepared, and consultations are being held with the Agriculture Ministry.
Yiolitis called on the public “to show the necessary respect for animals and help authorities identify cases in which animals are being abused or mistreated”.