North Cyprus does suffer somewhat from the ‘stray dog’ syndrome, and many expats will take on the odd ‘pet’ found in their local area to lighten to load somewhat, but unfortunately there is no real solution in place to ensure that stray animals are neutered to prevent the population overload that occurs, especially with cats and dogs.

Most sadly, in 2004 the European Commission adjudged North Cyprus to be a ‘third world’ country in terms of animal welfare and DEFRA in the UK (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), were obliged – for political reasons rather than veterinary ones – to remove North Cyprus from the Pet Travel Scheme.  This had allowed pets arriving in the UK from North Cyprus to forgo the normal 6 months quarantine period.  This scheme had been popular in North Cyprus, allowing foreigners returning to their domicile countries to take their adopted pets back with them.

However, there are organisations that do their very best in very difficult circumstances to help animals in Northern Cyprus, whether they are abandoned or living wild. Also we must also give a mention to the many individuals who take on animals such as donkeys, goats, sheep and other breeds apart from dogs and cats, and there are many of them!

KAR – Kyrenia Animal Rescue

Having been established since 1997 and subsequently recognised by the RSPCA in 1998, KAR is one of the long standing charity operations in North Cyprus, and they work tirelessly to provide for animals left in their care through full time and volunteer staff.  KAR formed their original compound in Karaoğlanoğlu in Girne, but due to rapid expansion were given new premises by the Forestry Department in 1999 and have been located in Beşparmak ever since.

Although their premises can hold around 200 animals, they are nearly always full to bursting point, and their involvement within the community is clear, with the introduction of neutering, tagging and return schemes for local strays allowing the centre to be used for extreme cases only as much as possible, whilst keeping the street population as under control as possible after having convinced local authorities not to shoot them.

KAR also run other schemes and events, such as donation days at local supermarkets throughout the year, a Christmas Fayre, quiz nights and a yearly and very popular dog show, all to help raise as many funds as possible.  They are introducing fostering schemes for those who feel able to take on an animal for a period of time, even if they are unable to commit to full time pet ownership.  They are working to set up feeding points for local strays, and also the sponsoring of an animal at the centre is now possible through a regular financial donation.  There is a charity shop in Kyrenia town centre to which people can donate a wide range of things such as clothes, bric a brac, books etc., as well.

KAR received official charity status in 2004, and they have been involved in innumerable campaigns involving the education and raising of awareness amongst the local population.  They have also been fighting to have a ban placed on the purchase of poisons which have unfortunately been used on the local animal population, resulting in painful deaths for many cats and dogs.  They also campaigned for the registering of animals via local district offices, and this is now a requirement of dog ownership.

If you feel able to help in any way, either by sponsoring, fostering, donating or if you can think of other ways of helping, or you want more information about where they are located, please visit

BARK – Bogaz Animal Rescue Kennels

Located in the south east coastal area of Boğaz near Famagusta, BARK was set up in early 2006 following a meeting between various locals and expats who were concerned with the increase in abandoned animals being seen in their area, and subsequently BARK received charitable status in late 2007.

Their remit is obviously very similar to KAR’s in that they aim to educate the local population about the treatment of animals, as well holding regular fund raising events to reinvest in kennel facilities and equipment.  A lot of BARK’s events are held at the Moon Over the Water eatery in Boğaz, who also lend a hand by donating scraps on a daily basis from their leftovers!

At the time of writing they have temporary accommodation for puppies only until their brand new facilities are finished some time in 2009, although they do already run a fostering scheme for homing larger animals.  They have received help from the Mayor of Iskele, Halil Oran, who has provided land for the charity which is currently being levelled; digging for a well for the facility’s water supply is also ongoing.  Once open, BARK’s new centre should be ready to accept dogs and cats as well as puppies, and the charity plans to run boarding kennels too.  A scheme for sterilisation is also in the pipeline for the future.

If you would like to learn more about BARK and its operation, as well as ways of helping or volunteering, please contact Geraldine Holley on 0533 8672193 or Sally-Ann Burrell on +90 533 8388057 or check out their website


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