Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Go to the beach... with your dog

It seems to me that there is almost nowhere in the whole of Cyprus where you can let your dog run around, get the exercise they need, chase after a ball, get covered in sand...

Every evening, around 7 o'clock when it starts to cool down, I see hordes of people out circling the streets of Larnaca. They stop, dog straining at the leash, and have a quick sniff at a pile of rubbish, or a grass verge, a car tyre. Then they shuffle on. Both dog and walker have done this route hundreds of times, there seems very little joy in the whole thing.

I do understand that there needs to be strict laws to ensure that dog owners act responsibly, and have control over their animals at all times when out in public spaces. BUT, should there not be a place that you can all let your hair down? A place where you can relax and not have to worry that person coming towards you is going to complain, or that parent over there is looking at you anxiously. A place where dogs are actually allowed. And if you go there, as a non-canine, you know the deal and you can't complain about it.

Everything is prohibited at Finikoudes beach,
including dogs of course 
I have been trying to get to the bottom of whether or not there are legal dog-friendly beaches in Cyprus, and it has not been easy. Firstly, there are a million different, contradictory articles online. I have asked pet owners, pet shop owners, and vets, they all tell me different things. I have been hunting the coasts looking for 'dogs allowed' signs......... everybody seems to have a different understanding.

In fact, there was a law passed in 2003 that each of the 5 districts of (southern) Cyprus should have a designated dog-friendly beach. Let's be specific here, when we say 'beach' - we're not talking about the areas of outstanding natural beauty with golden sands and palm trees, we're talking small, rocky areas that nobody goes to, where there is access to the sea.

Between 2003 and 2011 nothing much was done about this, with one big, notable exception...........
In 2008, an area of coast was designated dog friendly in the area of Louma beach, Agia Napa, organised and maintained by the municipality. This is still a designated dog beach today.  

In 2011, 5 areas were put forward to be dog-friendly beaches, including the existing beach in the Agia Napa (Famagusta) area:  

    Sign on deserted coast in Softades area, Larnaca District:
    'Dogs are forbidden on the beach and in the sea' (tr.)
  • Famagusta Louma Area 
34 58.796 N 33 56.584 E
34 58.820 N 33 56.603 E
  • Larnaca Softades
34 49.001 N 33 32.776 E
34 49.015 N 33 32.838 E
  • Lemesos Tsierkezoi (port)
34 38.477 N 33 00.642 E
34 38.423 N 33 00.617 E
34 39.492 N 32 38.842 E
  • Pafos Acheleia (airport)
34 43.721 N 32 27.439 E
34 43.750 N 32 27.376 E
  • Nicosia District Mansura (Pirgos)
35 11.624 N 32 38.756 E
35 11.637 N 32 38.677 E

These coordinates are given on various English and Greek websites, such as Cyprus Highlights:

Very sensibly,  this was set up as a trial run - to be reviewed at the end of 2013. There were all sorts of plans including bins for dog poo, sign posts to show the limits of the dog beach, toilets for owners etc etc.....

See the article on the About Larnaca website :

But inevitably, this didn't happen. The authorities did not put in the infrastructure, nobody knows whether the beaches were officially declared dog friendly or not, there are stories of people reported to the authorities in Lemesos for taking their dog to the designated area. See:'exist+only+on+paper'.-a0300600641

This is no small issue. As well as regular complaints, being reported, and life generally being made unpleasant - there are hefty fines for having a dog on the beach anywhere out of the so-called 'designated areas', and even, so it is claimed, a possible prison sentence (ok ok, I'm sure this is reserved for extreme situations, but still...)

***In summary, the only dog beach that we can be sure of is the one at Louma, near Agia Napa in the Famagusta District ***

Party in Agia Napa anyone?

Follow link below for legal document (in Greek) concerning the protection of beaches. Section 5Δ  (e) deals with dogs on the beach and in the sea:$file/Ο%20περί%20Προστασίας%20της%20Παραλίας%20Νόμος.pdf

1 comment:

  1. Here is info about dog's beach in Polis area