pawsCYPRUS VOICE FOR ANIMALS

Tel. 70003647

PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATING CASES OF PET POISONINGS

The deliberate poisoning of animals is an illegal act and is punished severely by Law. Pursuant to section 4 of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law "it is forbidden to all persons deliberately to administer or supply or permit the administration or supply of any poison or other harmful substance to any animal or to see to it that such a substance is taken by any animal".

Any citizen who finds his or her pet or any unknown animal poisoned, not only may report the case to their local Police Station, but has an OBLIGATION to do so in order that such incidents will be avoided in future. They can do so even if they do not know who committed the crime (against persons unknown). If they suspect a specific person they should say so.

The Police is obliged to investigate all reports of animal poisonings. The following procedure must be followed in all cases:

1. IMMEDIATE ACTIONS

a. The case must be entered into the Police Station's log book.

b. A police officer must accompany the complainant to the scene of the crime.

2. ACTIONS AT THE SITE – HANDLING OF DEAD ANIMAL AND EVIDENCE

a. The scene must be cordoned off, the area searched and the food, water or pharmaceutical products which are suspected of having been used to poison the animal must be seized.

b. A detailed search of the area must be carried out in order to locate any other evidence which will assist the investigation.

c. The evidence received must be suitably packaged.

d. The dead animal must be removed by the police and taken to the Veterinary Services for an autopsy.

e. If judged necessary, a police photographer is called before anything is moved in order to record the scene.

3. ACTIONS DURING THE AUTOPSY

a. The autopsy is carried out by a Veterinary Officer at the Veterinary Services in the presence of a police

b. If the Veterinary Officer's findings indicate poisoning as a possible cause of death, he/she must take all necessary samples for chemical and other tests in order to detect the poison. It is noted that at the autopsy there are no pathognomonic findings leading to a pathological diagnosis of the poisoning. There may be findings that simply indicate poisoning as one of the possible causes of death, such as, for example, pulmonary oedema and mucosal cyanosis.

c. The required samples taken during the autopsy are placed in plastic containers which are sealed with sticky evidence tape and signed by the Veterinary Officer and the Police Officer.

d. The samples are handed by the Veterinary Officer to the Police Officer, who takes them to the Police Station which is investigating the case. They are placed in a refrigerator.

e. If the differential diagnosis of the Veterinary Services concurs that the animal was indeed poisoned, the diagnosis is forwarded to the Police Station which is investigating the case.

f. If the autopsy is conducted in the course of a police investigation, the complainant does not pay any of the costs.

4. SUBSEQUEN ACTIONS BY THE POLICE

The complainant must call the Police Station and give a detailed statement in which he/she must report and justify any suspicions against any suspect.

4.1. If there is a specific suspect

a. The suspect is called to go to the Police Station where he/she is questioned and makes a statement after having been informed of their rights.

b. The suspect's premises are searched, either by Court Order or with their consent, in order to locate the poison or means

c. If the police search leads to grounds for suspicion and/or evidence which would mount a case against a specific suspect, the evidence gathered at the autopsy is sent by the police to the State Laboratory for the required tests. If there is suspicion that the animal was poisoned with a specific substance/preparation, this is recorded in the documents accompanying the samples.

d. The suspect is charged in writing if there is a case against him/her.

e. The investigation continues and a file is kept open until the case is fully investigated and the defendant is prosecuted.

4.2 If there is no specific suspect

The samples are stored by the police in a refrigerator for a period of two (2) months and if, after expiry of this period no evidence has been found against anyone, they are destroyed.


The text was prepared by Ms Mary Chrysochou-Anastasi in co-operation with the Police Authorities and the Veterinary Services of Cyprus.

Copyright reserved .If you like to publish it you can do so by taking permission from CVA.

Our many thanks to Mrs Rhea Frangofinou for translating the article into English free of charge.