Despite continuing struggle in Cyprus, animal shelters receive ongoing support

Shannon Walajtys visiting a cat shelter in Cyprus.Imagine, you wake up to find out that your bank is closed, and you cannot take out your own money!

This is exactly what happened in late March across Cyprus.

As you know from following our previous blogs, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was able to support desperate pet owners and shelters across Cyprus with an immediate emergency grant for food just in time.

The IFAW Disaster Response Team of James Pirnay and I recently returned from our Cyprus deployment.

We worked with our local partner Cyprus Voice for Animals (CVA) to visit and assess many of the shelters that were, and continue to be, impacted by the financial crisis across the country.

The first comment we received at one shelter was, ‘your food came just in time, we were down to 2 bags for over 200 dogs and we would not have made it one more day.’ James and I heard similar comments as we visited nearly 1000 of the more than 1500 animals helped through IFAW’s support.

Just as alarming were the comments about shelters receiving calls every day now from people in Cyprus that feel forced to leave the country because there is no money and no work; companies cannot afford to pay employees, and we passed many building sites and local business that were empty or closed.

Pet owners struggle to purchase food for their animals with what cash they had on hand…this burden results in some owners surrendering their pets to local shelters that are already struggling to feed the thousands of animals in their care.

Because of your generosity, IFAW emergency food grants are still heading out to Cyprus shelters in need. We remain in touch with our local partners to ensure that unmet needs are filled to the best of our ability.

I would like to share one volunteer’s words during our visit that I have posted at my desk for inspiration.

He said “our dogs here must not bite or scratch as they are good dogs, but we must bite and scratch for them to make the world a better place for animals.”

Cyprus animal shelters will continue to struggle as the financial crisis impacts more supporters and citizens across the country.

As IFAW teams deploy around the world we are constantly reminded of how resilient animal welfare organizations and supporters are for those less fortunate.

I am grateful for you all.


Support our efforts to help the animals of Cyprus with a donation now.

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy