Here we give you an update on our Cyprus issue. Many of you have followed the closure of the shelter we support in Lakatamia Cyprus which began with the news on 1st April that the local municipality are reclaiming the land and gave us two weeks to remove all the 46 dogs or they would be taken to a local kill shelter.
So during the first week of April after this news broke, we took our plight to social media - swamping Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the urgent news and thankfully, it worked. By April 14th we had just ten dogs left, and the wonderful women on the ground in Cyprus managed to get a two week extension while the transport for the dogs has been organised.
You may also know that Eve and I flew out to Cyprus last week, to find out the great news that we had managed to secure a contract with a new location, an unused kennels on a plot of land about 20 minutes away from the old pound. So, on May 2nd - just over a month after closure was announced - we moved the remaining dogs to their new location. With a two year agreement signed for, we chose to refer to this new safe haven as our ‘sanctuary’, and we can confirm that the shelter (otherwise known as Saving Pound Dogs Cyprus SPDC lives on!)
And with every cloud, there is a silver lining because the new shelter is much better – in terms of facilities and location – than the previous location, which was actually a municipal pound aka rubbish dump. The new shelter is safe, secure, away from traffic and offers the dogs their own kennel, shelter and space to run and play.
While we were in Cyprus we also learnt about a new scheme to manage the dog population put together by a group of municipalities. Unfortunately it is not a positive scheme. They have opened a new larger pound called Unite, which gives all dogs that comes through their gates just 14 days to find a home, otherwise they are killed. We clearly do not support this kind of treatment our policy is to support ‘no kill’ shelters. The volunteers working tirelessly in Cyprus will aim to get as many of the strays off the streets as possible without them having to go to the ‘Unite’ pound (such a positive word but unfortunately such a horrendous outcome for the dogs!)
An update on our original 46 urgent case dogs
Unfortunately, we do have a few of the original 46 that didn’t make it to new homes. Poor Kinza, who had a foster home waiting in the UK, was diagnosed with incurable cancer and passed away. Omar and Sky still remain in cages with no interest at all, and although Holly has a foster home, there have been no offers of adoption for her either. But now the matter of urgency is all over we have to concentrate on working with the steady flow of pound dogs once again, and hope that through promotion we can still find homes for these underprivileged canines.
A HUGE thank you
To all who donated to our online fundraiser we just want to say an enormous thank you, as your donations are helping us to get these dogs out of their desperate situations and into their new homes, offering them a life of stability and love that they have never experienced before. We never believed that we would make it to 10,000 euros, and all this money will go to the dogs for their veterinary and transportation expenses. We cannot stress how much we appreciate your help and how incredibly valuable your relentless support has been.
So, what next?
There are now no dogs in immediate danger – thanks to everyone’s amazing efforts. When the pound closed, we relocated to a new shelter and have a two-year contract ensuring the land is temporarily ours. All our dogs are safe here. In the meantime we will look to buy a piece of land that will be owned and operated by SPDC.
There are so many strays in Cyprus (estimated that each year 170,000 dogs are abandoned or are born as strays) that unfortunately the problem will not be solved quickly. We may have tackled the urgent situation, but now it is over we will concentrate on the other dogs needing help. Some are in local kennels, some are in mass foster and some are in our new shelter - all of which, however, lack the quality of care that a stable and safe home could provide. The problem is never ending, so now we are just starting over and continuing to do what we were doing before the crisis.