History of SPDC

How it all began

Back in December 2012 Elena Papaleontiou was driving to work when she noticed a Municipality car parked outside a shop with a purebred Cocker Spaniel in a cage in the back of the car. She waited for the driver to come back and asked about the dog. The municipality worker told her the dog had been picked up as a stray and would be taken to the pound cages, if not claimed in two weeks the dog would be euthanized.

Elena could not stop thinking about this dog all day and it was breaking her heart to think of the dog scared and alone in the cold concrete cages of the pound. She decided something had to be done. She called the municipality offices and arranged to meet the Hygiene Inspector who was in charge of the pound. It was agreed at this meeting that Elena could take over the responsibility for the dogs in the pound; if their owners could not be found, she would try to find new homes for them. In exchange the municipality would not “put to sleep” (PTS) the dogs after the mandatory 15 days elapsed, but would give them a few more days.

At this time, there were only 7 dogs in the cages so Elena went and took photos of the dogs, checked them over and promoted them through a rescue group she was a volunteer and member of at the time.

The municipal pound consisted of 5 cages with the capacity for only 8/10 dogs. Elena was working alone at this time and, as well as her full-time job, she promoted the dogs, did the vet runs, airport runs and took care of the dogs at the pound until homes were found.

In June 2013 Elena met Constantina Constantinou at an adoption day and they bonded instantly through their love of dogs. Constantina joined Elena in her efforts to help the dogs at this municipality pound.

As word spread that the ladies were volunteering at this pound and helping the dogs there to find homes, peoples started to dump dogs there rather than at other pounds and the numbers increased. By June the number of dogs had increased to 14, and by the end of July, there were 28 dogs. The municipality gave the ladies notice that they had to reduce the numbers to 10 dogs within 3 days or they would be PTS. In just 2 days with the help of other rescue volunteers like Suhair, they managed to move 18 dogs to foster homes or private kennels. People trusted them and donated for the private kennel costs. The dogs were saved from death through the amazing efforts of Elena, Constantina and Suhair and their supporters.

Because the number of dogs was increasing, the ladies came to an agreement with the municipality to fence an area to allow the dogs some exercise, but the small yard was soon full of stray dogs. Puppies mixed with adult dogs, males with females. So, they asked again for permission to create some bigger kennels to at least keep the puppies safe. The municipality gave them permission and, with the support of people who trusted them “puppy land” was built and also 1 more kennel. Still the numbers increased and every available space was used, dogs were chained to fences and up turned rubbish bins were used for kennels and hundreds of Euro was spent to buy dog houses as well. At one point, there were 87 dogs in a pound built for 10!

The municipality would only provide food for 10 dogs and did not pay vet care for any of the dogs, whether it was tick treatment or a broken leg. Extra food and vet care was paid for by the ladies themselves and by donations from supporters. The ladies could not challenge the municipality or the dogs would be PTS. They realised that they needed to create a specific rescue to help these dogs. They resigned from the rescue group they were part of and, in March 2014, SPDC – Saving Pound Dogs Cyprus was formed.

How SPDC grew

The SPDC ladies working in Nicosia joined forces with Thea Kynigos and Georgia Leantzi who looked after dogs from a pound in Limassol. More volunteers joined SPDC to help in their efforts to save the dogs in the pounds. Teams were organised to visit weekly to clean, feed and walk the dogs and to help with vet runs and emergencies.

SPDC rehomed more than 1500 dogs between 2013 and 2015 and saved the municipality more than €40,000 in euthanasia costs and over €70,000 in vet care, food, medicines and disinfectants.

In Spring 2015 the municipality decided to close the pound and become part of a large Unified pound. SPDC was, in effect, evicted from the pound and told that if the dogs were not removed they would be euthanized as all of them had already been at the pound for more than mandatory 15 days and their time was up. A massive campaign was launched to rehome 47 in just weeks. After an incredible effort, all the dogs were saved, some ending up in temporary homes until places could be found for them but NO DOG was put to sleep.

In May 2015 SPDC managed to rent an old rundown ex breeding facility and it was renamed the “SPDC Nicosia Sanctuary”. The sanctuary is home to around 30 dogs. SPDC Nicosia also has dogs in foster care with volunteers and foster families. SPDC Nicosia help dogs from the Unified Pound in danger of being PTS and other municipality pounds as well as dogs that find their way to the sanctuary because of the good name that SPDC has. The Sanctuary is always under pressure to take in dogs and has a waiting list of dogs needing help as well as the emergency ones that just appear.

SPDC Limassol help dogs in one particular municipality pound where they have sole responsibility for their care and rehoming but have to abide by the municipality rules. They also have dogs in foster care with volunteers. When space allows, they take dogs from high kill municipality pounds to their own homes to save them from euthanasia.

2016 has been a year of growth for SPDC in the UK. Wendy Bruty joined Amy Appleby as part of the UK admin team and with hard work and determination much has been achieved.

SPDC has developed a network of foster homes throughout the UK which are used to home some dogs prior to adoption, but also to provide crucial rescue backup should it be needed.

Since January 2016 all SPDC dogs have their microchips registered with PETtrac before they enter the country.

The biggest achievement of 2016 was in September SPDC Rescue UK became a registered charity in the UK. Registered Charity Number 1169378

In November 2016 SPDC Rescue UK became rescue partners with Agria Insurance and all dogs adopted into the UK now come with 5 weeks’ free insurance.

2016 saw 303 dogs rehomed by SPDC. 74% or 224 dogs to the UK. 23 dogs were rehomed within Cyprus and the other dogs to 11 other countries throughout Europe.

SPDC will continue to grow, become stronger and help more dogs with the excellent support it has in the UK and around the world.

SPDC owes a huge debt of gratitude to its loyal supporters. It is only with their help, both moral support and financial support, that SPDC is able to continue to help, rehabilitate and rehome dogs in need.

SPDC will continue to have a no kill policy. We will continue to help all dogs, no matter what age they are, what health issues they have or what breed they are.

All dogs deserve a chance at happiness and a family to love them. We will do everything within our power to make that happen.