Thousands of homeless dogs from Cyprus have been sent abroad for adoption as part of efforts by animal protection societies to tackle the problem of strays and ease pressure on overcrowded shelters.
Data was submitted to the House of Representatives by Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis in response to a question from Greens MP Giorgos Perdikis. Perdikis also queried whether among the dogs being re-homed abroad there were cases of pets who were not homeless or abandoned but had been lost or stolen and were being sought by the owners.
The minister said that dogs sent for adoption abroad were all checked by the Veterinary Services. He said that a total of 10,850 had been sent from Cyprus in the past three years — 2,858 dogs in 2015 , 3,703 dogs in 2016 and 4,289 in 2017 . Most (3,963) were sent from Limassol district. Next comes Nicosia with 2,694 , Famagusta district with 1,560, Paphos with 1,403 and finally Larnaca with 1,230 dogs.
Most are adopted in the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2017, 3219 dogs were sent to the UK, 651 to Germany and 305 to the Netherlands.
Kadis said the transfer of dogs for adoption abroad by animal protection societies was carried out under the supervision of the Veterinary Department in line with an EU law that specifies that animals must be registered with TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) and are issued a health certificate. The latter requires a clinical test by a vet within 48 hours of the dog travelling abroad. The dog must have an EU passport certifying the clinical test, vaccination against rabies and the microchip number. Authorities also check whether the dog had a microchip, was registered and therefore has an owner. The certificate costs €34.17 per animal which translates into revenue of €97,658, €126,532 and €146,555, for 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively, totalling €370,745.
Kadis confirmed that the 10,850 dogs sent abroad in the past three years included a few cases of pets that were not meant for adoption but for which a TRACE certificate was issued because the animal was travelling unaccompanied.