Cyprus: SBA Police and Environment Department join forces to combat illegal dog training

The Sovereign Base Areas Environment Department and Police are undertaking intensive joint operations to find and report people training hunting dogs illegally within important and sensitive Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas at Akrotiri, Episkopi and Paramali.

Under the Game and Wild Birds Ordinance, it is prohibited to train or exercise hunting dogs, or to allow them to roam, unless accompanied and controlled with a lead.

Offenders are liable to a Fixed Penalty of €300, or if convicted, up to two years imprisonment, or a potential €3,417 fine.

Officials have confirmed that so far 12 people have been fined, with the SBA Police using its drone to check large natural habitat areas affected by the illegal activity.

SBA Police officer, Kyriakos Sarris, said: “During the first days of the operations a number of people with several dogs were reported but by the end of the last two weeks of intensive operations the illegal activity stopped completely at all areas. Operations using drones and other specialised equipment will continue to take place.”

SBA Administration Environment Officer Alexia Perdiou said: “Dog training is a very damaging activity, especially for ground-nesting birds who abandon their nests when approached by a dog.

“This often results in the loss of clutches or the abandonment of a breeding ground altogether. The SBAs are important breeding sites for many protected birds. Safeguarding a favourable conservation status for these birds has top priority for the Authorities but we can all help by not undertaking activities that jeopardise their survival.”

Any illegal dog training activity should be reported to the SBA Police on 1443.

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