‘Use reputable rescue centres for rehoming’
Taken from this week's issue
By GÜLDEREN ÖZTANSU
DOG lovers in the UK hoping to rehome pets from the TRNC have been warned to use only “reputable rescue centres” after a woman sent 2,500TL for the care of puppies that have since been registered to a new owner in North Cyprus.
Lawyer Claire Elliott spent 10 years in North Cyprus, where she had been “rescuing and rehoming puppies”.
In March she was led to believe that a litter of 10 puppies were in dire need of help. Ms Elliott was told that they would be transported to the UK after she sent money to pay for their upkeep until they were ready to travel.
The stray puppies, originally in Lefke, were being taken care of by a man who put forward the appeal in early March and had been Ms Elliott’s contact.
Ms Elliot said she came across the appeal in a Facebook group that asked for “money and help”. She said she sent 2,500TL to help keep the puppies alive with food and veterinary services paid directly to the vet that her contact took the puppies to, and began her re-homing preparations in the UK.
Despite the “high cost of transportation – £950 per puppy” and a “four-month waiting period” due to requirements such as vaccinations, she decided to proceed and have the puppies sent to the UK, where “over 60 people” had expressed an interest in providing them with new homes.
Ms Elliot said she was partly motivated by the fact there had been a surge in interest in the puppies from hunters, as the puppies had been identified as pointers. “Hunter dogs have a horrible life,” she said.
She had agreed to pay for the cost of accommodation by a dog hotel, namely the Irma Dog Farm in Serhatköy.
The agreed plans for the puppies fell through, however, last Saturday when a woman in Güzelyurt contacted Ms Elliot to update her on the puppies, which were allegedly being kept by the “Güzelyurt Animal Rights Association”, an organisation established on March 24, 2021.
The woman sent images of the puppies and the mother to Ms Elliot “to prove that they do not need to be rehomed”. After watching the puppies eat pieces of foam insulation on a concrete floor Ms Elliot reported feeling “horrified”.
Other animal lovers who spoke to Cyprus Today reported that “nobody wants the dogs to stay with [the woman] . . . but there is no legal angle to carry forward”.
Ms Elliot was allegedly told by that the woman that she had registered the dogs under her name and that she would now be taking care of them “after the Güzelyurt [Animal Rights] Association was shut down”.
Asked to comment on the issue, Margaret Ray of Kyrenia Animal Rescue (KAR) warned against social media appeals that can easily mislead people.
She advised people to only rehome animals via “reputable rescue centres” such as KAR where a certain procedure is followed including “homing forms and home checks”, rather than sending money to individuals based on a promise.
“You hear about these things . . . they don’t know who the people are that they are sending money to.”
Mrs Ray added that it is not possible to change ownership of pets that have been sent to the UK from North Cyprus for a considerable amount of time and that only registered dealers or pet shops can transport as many as 10 dogs.