Sweeping changes, higher penalties for animal abuse approved by cabinet

The cabinet on Wednesday approved a slew of new measures on animal welfare following proposals tabled by agriculture minister Costas Kadis.

The measures are part of a series of amendments to the animal welfare law.

Specifically, it will be forbidden, first, to keep a pet permanently tied up or to keep or isolate a dog or cat on balconies or roofs.

It also includes a significant increase in financial penalties, along with the possibility of imprisonment in the event of a conviction for abuse or neglect.

In the event of a first conviction, the penalty is being increased from €1,700 to €10,000. For a second or subsequent offence, the fine is increased from €3,400 to €20,000.

Also, in the event of a conviction for violating the instructions of the veterinary services or police in relation to animals, the fine can be increased from €850 to €5,000.

At the same time, a ban on keeping marine mammals such as dolphins, whales or seals in captivity at aquariums or in artificial tanks is being introduced.

Based on the new provisions, the Pancyprian Animal Welfare Committee and the Provincial Animal Welfare Committees are also being strengthened and they will be able to participate in policymaking and assist the work of the veterinary services and police in areas of control and enforcement of legislation. The amendments approved by the cabinet will be submitted to the House of Representatives for voting.

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