17 February 2014 07:28

Nicosia Dog Shelter (NDS) is working hard to change the fate of perhaps the worst-off canines in Cyprus, hunting dogs.
While some hunters do treat them well, many keep their hunting dogs in dire conditions, housing them in tiny cages for most of the year and sometimes abandoning, severely punishing or even killing them if the dogs fail to meet their master's expectations.
Re-homing them is another challenge for animal shelters as many people do not realise just what great pets the breeds most often used for hunting can be if given the opportunity.
Speaking to The Cyprus Weekly on behalf of NDS, Elena Christofides said: "In Cyprus we have a huge problem with hunting dogs which are abused and abandoned continuously and they fill up all the shelters and municipality pounds all over Cyprus and have minimal chance of being re-homed in good homes."
She said many of the dogs abandoned by hunters are pointers which are gentle and sensitive dogs and great companions.
"They are perfect dogs for anyone in general and also for families with children but unfortunately they are misunderstood here in Cyprus and kept in cages for most of their lives and just let out for hunting. If they do not perform they are simply thrown away, beaten or even shot."
Chirstofides said there is also a problem of irresponsible breeding and argued the onus must be put on the owners such as micro chipping.
"So irresponsible owners can be found and prosecuted so they do not get away with this anymore. Also there needs to be control with breeding so that all these helpless lives are not born to avoid the suffering."
This is one of the reasons why Christofides started a project of re-homing dogs in the UK many of which are dogs used for hunting.
"This has been very successful but unfortunately costly so we need as much help as we can to cover the costs of their veterinary preparation and flights to re-home more of these dogs abroad and give them the chance of a new life."
Volunteers are also needed to help expand this project in the UK and other EU countries. For those who want to help e-mail nicosiadogshelter@gmail.com.
The NDS Facebook page includes success stories and accompanying photos of shelter dogs that have been adopted overseas in the album 'Dogs Adopted in UK & Abroad' as well as news of dogs adopted in Cyprus in the 'Forever Endings' album.
These include the story of Roza (photo).
Roza was a one year old Pointer who was found and brought to the shelter with six newborn puppies of which four survived.
They grew up at the shelter with nobody interested in adopting them so homes in the UK were found for them.
Visitors to the NDS Facebook page can also contribute to two fundraising efforts.
NDS is a non-profit registered charity which was established to take care of hundreds of abused and abandoned dogs in the Nicosia area. It has been based in the UN area opposite the old Nicosia airport since 1990.
"The shelter has at any time up to 180 dogs plus many puppies are kept in foster homes by our volunteers. The aim is to re-house these dogs to responsible homes to give them the chance of a better life. Each dog that is re-homed creates a space for a new dog at the shelter," Christofides said.
 


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