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Justice for Mira the French Bulldog

By Kyriacos Kiliaris

A group of animal rights activists filed an animal cruelty case against the owner of a French bulldog called Mira in Kyrenia. The court ruled that the dog should be temporarily removed from the owner’s house after finding that there was substantial evidence of animal cruelty.

Elaborating, the court said it was convinced the pet was being mistreated and in danger, and so had issued an order for the canine to be surrendered to the veterinary department.

However, when court clerks, along with lawyers from the prosecution, went to the owner’s house to take charge of Mira, they found that both dog and owner had disappeared. The owner would not answer police phone calls and is nowhere to be found. Both dog and owner were still missing this week.

Filmed and reported

The owner was seen hitting the dog on a veranda of her flat in Kyrenia. The incident was filmed and reported to the Golden Paws Association, which took action by taking the dog into their custody. An animal lover under the name of Sevinc Tozduman provided shelter for the dog in her home in Nicosia. However, the council of Kyrenia, along with a police escort, took Mira from Tozduman’s care and returned her to the house where she had been beaten in Kyrenia.

“Kyrenia council officials and police entered my house in Nicosia without showing me any legal document and took my baby from my arms,” Tozduman later told reporters…

After this development, a group of animal rights activists filed a case in the Kyrenia district court against the owner for animal cruelty and asked for the court to issue a warrant to remove Mira from the house where she had been mistreated. The court, after listening to witnesses and reviewing the visual evidence, issued a temporary warrant for the removal of Mira from the house. The defendant was to have been able to contest the court’s ruling by February 15.

‘On holiday with my girl’

However, Mira and her owner thereafter went missing. Despite not being located, a Turkish Cypriot newspaper published statements allegedly made by the missing dog’s owner stating: “I am on holiday with ‘my girl’”. Mira’s owner admitted to hitting the dog with a light slipper.

Animal rights activist Tozduman wondered if there were a way to measure violence.

“Are the videos presented in court fake? No form of violence is justifiable. This is a soul we are talking about,” she said, adding: “How can someone give statements to a reporter and yet cannot be found?”

However bitter Tozduman may be feeling, she nonetheless expressed her delight at the court’s decision, saying that “a new era has begun… this will prevent new acts of animal cruelty from taking place”.

She said the battle she is waging for Mira is not only for her “baby”, but for all animals that are being mistreated. Tozduman called on the public to show solidarity with abused creatures and those who protect them, at a demonstration that took place on Tuesday outside Kyrenia police headquarters.

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