The organisation was founded in 1982, it was known then as Cyprus Cat Protection (CCP) and Animal Welfare, to provide shelter for stray cats and dogs. In 1994 it became “Paphiakos & CCP Animal Welfare” a registered charity No.1529 entrusted with promoting the aims of the Cyprus Government for improving animal welfare throughout the island.It has grown extensively since the early days and now provides many services including an Information and Complaints Centre, Veterinary Clinic to the public, free Rescue and 24 hours Emergency Service,Shelter, Boarding, Re-homing, Pet Travel Service,Education programmes for schools and the general public, a Coffee Shop, four Charity Shops and our Book Exchange shop.
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The death of Christos Panayiotou is a very noticeable loss to Cyprus Animal Welfare.
He was a driving force behind the activities of the organisation and it will be very, very difficult to replace him, not only because of the time he afforded to Paphiakos but also his business mind and acumen. Because of him Paphiakos is now at a turning point in its life.
He was a person who thought globally as well as locally and it was his idea to form the first establishment of an animal shelter which he built in 1982 in Geroskipou with his own personal funding and created Cyprus Cat Protection and Animal Welfare. It was only due to the ill health of his wife Christina that this was handed over to voluntary workers and at the same time the present shelter of Paphiakos evolved.
He then expended that animal welfare was not just for strays and picking up dogs but he sincerely believed that animal welfare began behind the desk.
In 1987 he arranged for an animal welfare organisation called “The Voice for Helpless Animals” which was our Austrian office.
He believed very strongly in disease and birth control. He was the first in this country in 1992 to introduce the spaying programme for all animals not only for Paphos, but also in Limassol and the monastery cats.
In 1994 he was awarded by the Austrian office of Albert Schweitzer the Award for Outstanding Services to Mankind and in 1996 another award for Saving Lives of the Animals.
In 2001 the British base in Episkopi also awarded Paphiakos as the best run organisation in Cyprus.
In 2007 Paphiakos was recognised by the Government for outstanding services to the community and environment.
In 2009 Paphiakos was awarded the Golden Heart from Paphos Municipality for services to the community. Christos Panayiotou was the driving force behind Paphiakos. He believed that in if you wanted to work in animal welfare and get the job done properly you should be dedicated, loyal and have a deep respect of animals
His dedication made a big difference not only to animal welfare but also to the local community by setting up a completely new department to develop all aspects of the organisation from pet shops to more vets, breeders to food importers, training of veterinary staff to micro-chipping. He was a strong believer to push ahead with the laws of the Government and worked closely with Government Bodies in order to improve the animal welfare due to his contacts of the EPN in Brussels. He was instrumental in putting through the law for micro-chipping of dogs. He gave employment for many years, especially in the early 80’s and 90’s, to people in animal welfare at a time when so many were out of work.
Without doubt, his death will leave a big hole in the organisation but his efforts over the years will be remembered throughout Cyprus.
Not only his wife Christina but also most of the staff have seen him through his sickness and have promised him that Paphiakos is here to stay and the work will carry on regardless.