As of the 8th August 2008 the Department of Veterinary Services have placed restriction measures on our farm which forbid the movement and the trading of the birds & animals. It has been over 3 years and we still do not know when it will end. This is not only causing us huge financial problems but is provoking distress and death to the animals as our holdings are for trading purposes, which means that the animals and birds are to remain in the holdings for a short period of time and not for unlimited amount of time.
All animals which we have imported such as deer, antelope, kangaroo, cattle, llama, African hunting dog, flamingo etc, etc have been imported under our pet shop license.
Are all the above domestic animals?
If yes, why can we not sell them?
If no, who is responsible for the import of these animals?
They confiscate and kill animals which have been imported legally and with all the necessary documents, yet the Department of Veterinary Services are aware that there are many pet shops and home owners that have birds and animals that have illegally entered the country. They are without any certificates and are dangerous for the spread of diseases. Instead for these cases they simply inspect and do not follow up with any formal complaints or proceed with confiscating the animals. One example is the incident that was reported on the news that showed the Director of the Department of Veterinary Services, Mr. Paulo Toumazos standing side by side with a crocodile that had been imported illegally and they did not proceed with confiscating and putting to death the animal. Yet for the crocodiles that we imported, an EU product, with all their papers and brought legally into the country, they proceded with the exterminations.
Not only have we asked on many occasions for a list of the names of the birds & animals that we can import and trade in but our lawyer had also written and asked for this list. It has been 6 years and we are still waiting. Even Mr. Phanos Pieridis from the Department of Veterinary Services announced on the TV shows ‘Συν Πλιν’ and ‘60 λεπτα’ that a list was being prepared but again still no list.
In the Department of Veterinary Services letter to all pet shops dated 8th July 2008 they issued a ban on all imports of birds & animals until 15th September 2008 and asked that all points stated in their letter need to be completed by all by 21st July 2008. Prior to this letter we had already been carrying out the points that they were asking and had already been inspected, but this still meant that the import ban was also valid for us. Just a few days after, whilst the ban was in place we were informed by Mr. Andreas Michailides, from the Department of Veterinary Services that others had imported birds. They had been inspected by the veterinary officer who found no problems with the fact that they had imported birds while the ban was in place and without following any of their outlines.
We have been importing & trading in birds and animals for over 20 years and we hold the best conditions and holdings in Cyprus, yet the Department of Veterinary Services causes us so many problems. There are others that have been approved and given a license to trade from garages and basements.
We hold two CY numbers (CYS1240033 & CYS1240034) for the goats & sheep that we keep and this entitles us to employ workmen. The Department Of Veterinary Services also acknowledge in writing after an inspection and inventory that we maintain over 7’500 live animals/birds. On the 19/11/2009 Mr. Georgos Christofi in writing denied us the entitlement to employ even one workman to care for the animals because we are not an approved establishment. On that very same day we visited Mr. Christofi and informed him that we will be making a formal complaint against him. The very next day the senior officer, Mr. Nikos Kuriakides came to our farm and gave us the document that approved us to have 2 workmen.
Previously we have held 2 quarantine facilities with CY-CB 0011 & CY-CB0012 which followed EU outlines. On the 17th September 2009 we contacted the Department of Veterinary Services regarding importing birds from third countries. They sent us in writing the necessary changes that needed to be carried out to one of the facilities. Within just a few days ALL the changes that were asked of us were completed and inspected by the veterinary officer who gave us written confirmation that everything was completed. Even though we had done all that they had asked of us for them to approve our quarantine facility there answer in the end was NO. We have now passed this matter on to our lawyer who is appealing their decision.
They ask in writing on one day to carry out certain things yet a few days after they ask in writing something different.
The requirements that they gave us to maintain/complete for the park are different from those that are required by law and from what they have demanded from the other parks which the Department of Veterinary Services have licensed.
A formal complaint was made against us, with the police, by Mr. Nikos Kuriakides of the Department of Veterinary Services because supposedly he found one water trough dirty out of the 400 used on our farm. We have the same officer photographed at our premises whilst carrying out an inspection without wearing the appropriate protective uniform that is required by law. By not wearing the protective uniform he is putting our farm & pet shop at risk of infection from other farms/parks.
They do not know the law and are unfamiliar with the law, that’s to say that they can not distinguish what is a wild animal or bird and what is captive bred.
We have many photographs and official documents from the Department of Veterinary Services that highlight their illegal acts which we have written about many times to the previous Minister and also to the current Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment in our letters to him and in our meeting with him on the 28th July 2010.
The Minister announced to the newspapers and we replied through our lawyer with the following:
On the 8th September 2011 we wrote to the Department of Veterinary Services that the problems here still continue and that the animals have started to die again. Why do they choose to delay matters???? What hidden reasons are there????? Is it an easier solution for them to wait until one after the other the animals die until none are left.
It is over a year since we obtained our town & planning license for a zoological park which was set/based under the views and terms of the Department of Veterinary Services. To follow they asked in writing for us to submit to them drawings showing the new cages that will be made along with a complete list of the birds and animals that we will accommodate in the park. On the 29th November we submitted to the Department of Veterinary Services the drawings and list that they asked and on the 18th January we had an inspection/meeting in regards to this matter. We have not had any reply in regards to the inspection and even after writing to them we are still waiting for a reply.
Why again are they choosing to delay in us progressing with becoming a park???? Visitors will see many changes that we have made but we can complete all the work because they do answer our letters in regards to matters of the zoological park. Cages that are ready for existing animals can not be moved because the head of the animal welfare refuses to give us written confirmation that it ok to move the animals. After all they have placed the restriction measures on our farm restricting us to move any of the animals and it seems that they prefer the animals to remain in cages that they have outgrown and become unsuitable for them rather than bigger and safer cages.