image feral dog

Cyprus seems to have a love hate relationship with dogs in particular. Prior to the hunting season, which is during the winter months, many hunters acquire dogs for the specific purpose of fleshing out their prey and retrieving the dead animal once shot. In some cases the poor dogs are starved prior to the hunt so they make better retrievers. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work, as a hungry dog is going to eat that which it’s supposed to pick up. But then again I know nothing about hunting so maybe I’m wrong.

What I do know, on the other hand, is that many hunters keep their dogs in wooden shacks out in the countryside, away from where they live. Why? Because their wives don’t want barking dogs near their homes. I can understand that. I’m a dog owner and I can’t stand barking dogs. However, what these hunters fail to understand is that they are keeping their dogs away from their annoyed wives, but close to somebody else’s home and the dogs are a nightmare to these poor souls. We had this experience when we lived in the hills north of Paphos. We could hear a dog howling at night and during the day, the poor animal was very distressed. It started howling out of the blue one night and it lasted several days before we finally located where the poor dog was, tethered to a short chain in a small wooded area a few metres from our house. The poor thing didn’t even had any shelter. It turned out the owner had bought it in the summer ready for the hunting season starting in November. His wife objected to the dog’s howling at night and as they lived in an apartment in Paphos (yes, I know, slightly crazy) their neighbours were also complaining. So the owner took it up into the hills and plonked it in the wooded area, gave it a bowl of water and food and left it, coming back each evening to feed and water it.

We complained to our landlord who, luckily, knew the owner and he came and retrieved the poor animal. Where it ended up I have no idea, but it probably kept some other poor soul awake during the night.

The problem is that once the hunting season is over, many of these dogs are simply released into the wild to fend for themselves, ending up in many cases as road kill on the highway.

Cyprus is sometimes hard to cope with if you’re an animal lover.

Tom Kane (C) 2014

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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