Hatice Azizoğlu from the Golden Paws Association claimed this week that nine puppies at the council-run shelter had died due to infections, and accused officials of failing to take action despite repeated concerns raised by the organisation.
She said that leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by the bite of sandflies, was rife at the centre and that the carcasses of dead dogs were being kept in an uncovered container close to live animals.
“What needs to be done is to tackle the root causes of the problem,” she said, calling for greater use of neutering to reduce the number of strays on the streets.
“These overcrowded places [weaken] the immune system of the animals there and therefore such negligence is not acceptable,” Ms Azizoğlu said.
The campaigner also claimed she and other activists had been barred from entering the shelter on Tuesday after being told that “visiting hours had changed”.
She said it was wrong for the dogs to be “so distanced from society” and that it was “not nice to take the animals away whenever a complaint was made, regardless of whether or not they had a microchip or a licence”.
Responding to the allegations, Gazimağusa Municipality’s İlke Soyer said she was willing to discuss the issues with members of the Golden Paws Association, but that they had “never entered into a dialogue” with her, instead insisting on a meeting with mayor İsmail Arter.
Ms Soyer defended the shelter, saying the dogs there were looked after by “many volunteers” who were also trying to find new homes for them, but that resources at the shelter were “limited”.
She said the dogs were being kept in a “healthy environment” and that it was “normal for them to get an infection” even though they were subjected to routine health checks.
Ms Soyer added that the carcasses were only left in a container for a “very short period of time” before being disposed of.
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