More dogs abandoned as animal shelters are now full

All dog shelters across the country are full as more dogs are being abandoned, the animal welfare commissioner said.

Alison Bezzina said one of the reasons for this phenomenon could be the slow return to “normalcy” after COVID-19, with people realizing that they are running out of time for their pets. Another could be the recent confiscations by Animal Welfare of dogs kept in poor conditions, which could cause breeders to fear they will be the next to get caught.

In recent weeks, animal shelters have called on the public to adopt a dog rather than buying one, as they haven’t been able to handle all of the stray dogs that enter.

Animal Welfare Gozo was the last to announce on Facebook that its kennels were full and that it could no longer accommodate dogs.

Another sanctuary, ‘Saved is my favorite breed’, run by animal activist Lulu Arpa, sounded the alarm by saying that these were not just shelters run by NGOs, but also kennels. private individuals that were reaching their full capacity.

Bezzina has confirmed that the five animal sanctuaries, one in Gozo and four in Malta, as well as the two units run by the Department of Animal Welfare, are at full capacity and accepting more dogs than they can handle.

“The reason for this dropout spike is a combination of various aspects,” Bezzina said. Malta timetables.

“As we return to some form of normalcy after the pandemic, people are realizing that they don’t have time for their dogs.

“Others are ‘scared’ after the recent confiscations and have decided to abandon their animals instead of getting caught.

Last month, animal welfare officials seized 45 dogs from a breeder in Birżebbuġa who had been banned by a court from keeping dogs.

Earlier this month, authorities confiscated 21 other dogs, of Pomeranian breed, which were being kept in squalid conditions at a house in Pietà.

Bezzina said shelters are receiving everything from newborn puppies to senior dogs. She pointed out that over-breeding is not regulated: anyone can breed up to four litters per year without having to register or hold a license.

“A new law for breeders is being drafted to regulate the sector. Unfortunately, regulating ranchers is always difficult because everything happens behind closed doors, but there needs to be more awareness, ”she said.

Bezzina is pushing for all breeders to be registered as well as for the reintroduction of a national sterilization campaign to help reduce the number of stray dogs. There is also a longer term plan to have a larger placement center.

Belle and her six puppies are being looked after by a local shelter. Photo: Association for Abandoned Animals

“Right now we need to approach the problem from the top – we need to control reproduction, to argue that spaying is not unhealthy for your pet and that pets are for life, not as long as It suits us. “

“Good adoption rate”

The Association for Abandoned Animals (AAA) currently holds 102 dogs – while the sanctuary has a capacity of around 80.

“We are more than full, but luckily we have a good adoption rate so we can continue to bring dogs in every day,” said sanctuary manager Rosalind Agius.

Bianca was found in appalling condition.Bianca was found in appalling condition.

The sanctuary receives dogs that have been abandoned and others from Animal Welfare that have been confiscated or have been abused. Among the dogs in the sanctuary are three female dogs and their litters.

A female dog, Bianca, arrived at the shelter a few days ago in appalling condition, starving and covered in fleas.

“It’s so easy for people to give up their dogs and most of them do it by throwing them out on the streets. Others are abandoned because owners are unwilling to pay for medical care, ”she said.

“A dog is for life and a family member… it’s that simple. Not for the COVID-19 lockdown, not for Christmas and not just for when you feel like having a pet. “

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