Proving in court that a barking dog creates a disturbance is difficult, with no such convictions having been achieved in Nicosia District.
The law requires that there must be loud, continuous barking. But as Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said in a written reply to Green MP Yiorgos Perdikis proving this in court is difficult because prosecution must prove all six points in article 18 of the law.
That is the prosecution must prove:
- That the dog is over three months old
- That the accused is the actual owner of the dogs, that is that he/she has acquired all the required licences
- That the dog made a noise with loud, continuous barking
- The behaviour of the owner to determine whether he/she allows or tolerates the continuous barking. If for example the owner attempted to calm the dog, then the specific provision required by the prosecution is not met
- The prosecution must prove the public nature of the disturbance; that is there must be testimony from more than one witness
- Evidence is required as to where the disturbance was caused; the distance between the plaintiff from the dog creating the disturbance and whether the barking has affected the quality of life of residents
Nicolaou said the above had been cited in a number of acquittals. The minister does not give figures of convictions of dog owners for causing a disturbance, but says that a check in Nicosia District had shown no such convictions.
Some cases were taken to court but prosecution was suspended by the attorney general at the request of defence lawyers because of lack of evidence or because the complaint was withdrawn.