After being taken to court by the Forestry Department for taking my dog for a walk in Athalassa Park, and WINNING, they have now appealed and refuse to stop giving out fines..Although there is a court decision supporting the case that the law does not provide for the banning of dogs (see updates WE WON!!1+2) on a leash and with a doggy bag, in the biggest park of Nicosia, the Forestry Department continues to flout the court decision by issuing press statements that they will continue issuing fines as before. Athalassa park is under the protection of the Forestry Department illegally published regulations forbidding the entrance of dogs as pets and on a leash within the park. As a young family with a toddler and an ageing dog called Felix we decided to go for a walk there one lazy Spring Sunday of 2012. Felix as you can imagine loved his walks, and Alessandra our daughter loved his company! As we were getting out of the car, we were cautioned by a park ranger that dogs are forbidden and we should leave immediately. As we refused I was asked to give my details as I was breaking the law and I would be fined, which I did. What followed was a slew of harassing phone calls demanding I pay up, even though I was never actually served with a fine. I refused every time on the grounds firstly that I cannot morally support such a ridiculous law and secondly that I had not even been fined! The result of all this is that I spent 2 years in court appearance after court appearance. I knew that it would come to this and was willing to go all the way just to get this situation in the public eye and to campaign to change the status quo. Thankfully the court threw the case out. There is never a good enough reason to ban the responsible due to the handful of people acting irresponsibly With the same reasoning should we ban kids with footballs, bikes and skateboards as they might bother others who want to go for a quiet walk?Should no one be allowed to chew gum, smoke, picnic or bring cans and bottles into parks or on the beach for fear of litter? All European cities allow dogs in parks as long as they are properly supervised, on a leash and the owners pick up after them. That is what a civil society is. Trusting your citizens to be responsible and if they are not then fine them, but do not assume that all citizens are irresponsible and remove their rights/privileges first! It is time that something is done and we finally stand up for our human right to walk our dog in all parks, in a responsible and civlised manner. We demand that parks should be 'dog friendly' areas complete with bag dispensers and poo bins. Please sign this petition if you agree. Your voice counts!
Please sign this petition which will be presented to the above departments in protest against this law and to demand that dogs be allowed in Athalassa Park and as a consequence all public parks....
Please sign this petition which will be presented to the above departments in protest against this law and to demand that dogs be allowed in Athalassa Park and as a consequence all public parks. We need at least 5000 signatures.
Felix has since passed away, but let this fight continue in his name so that in the future we can all walk our dogs (with or without our kids) without being treated like second class citizens and humiliated like this.
The next court hearing is at the Nicosia Courts on the 13th of March 2014 at 11am. I will keep you updated!