Hundreds of pedigree dogs are imported into Cyprus just as thousands of strays are being rehomed abroad by beleaguered animal welfare organisations trying to deal with the overwhelming number of abandoned dogs in Cyprus, Phileleftheros reported on Tuesday.
Figures submitted to parliament by Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis show that from 2014 to 2018, a total of 1,259 dogs entered Cyprus through Larnaca airport from EU member states.
Kadis, who was replying to a question submitted by Greens MP Charalambos Theopemptou, gave the following figures: 2014 – 244 dogs, 2015 – 472, 2016 – 225, 2017 – 171 and 2018 – 147.
Moreover, during the same period the vet services at Larnaca Airport handled the arrival of a total of 1325 dogs brought from third countries for commercial reasons.
The breakdown is as follows: 2014 – none, 2015 – 97, 2016 – 489, 2017 – 505 and 2018 – 234.
As regards arrival of dogs from third countries brought to Cyprus for non-commercial reasons, these stood at 3,431 over the same period. The breakdown is as follows: 2014 – 525, 2015 – 539, 2016 – 649, 2017 – 798 2018 – 920.
Figures show that two dogs entered Cyprus through Limassol marina – one in 2014 and one in 2017.
This brings the total number of dogs brought to Cyprus over the period 2014 to 2018 at 6,017.
Vet services figures also show that thousands of stray dogs are making the trip in the opposite direction as part of rehoming campaigns by animal welfare associations.
Thousands of dogs are abandoned in Cyprus every year, stretching the resources of volunteers at animal shelters.
According to figures submitted to parliament in May 2018 a total of 10,850 stray dogs were rehomed abroad as follows: 2015 – 2,858 dogs, 2016 – 3,703 and 2017 – 4,289.
The biggest number (3,963 dogs) came from the Limassol district, followed by Nicosia with 2,694 Famagusta district with 1,560, Paphos district with 1,403 and finally Larnaca district with 1,230 dogs.
The majority of dogs were rehomed in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
Kadis said that rehoming of dogs abroad by animal welfare services is carried out under the supervision of the Veterinary Services.