The animal welfare commissioner has said that all of Malta’s dog shelters have reached maximum capacity as more dogs are being abandoned.
Within the last month, animal sanctuaries across the Islands have called out on the public to ‘adopt, don’t shop’ as the number of stray dogs increased. Both Animal Welfare Gozo and Rescued is my Favourite Breed revealed that their kennels reached full capacity.
Alison Bezzina said this could be explained by the gradual return to “normality” after the pandemic, with many realising they no longer have time for their pets. Recently, Animal Welfare has also carried out the confiscations of dogs held in poor conditions, which might have scared breeders.
Bezzina even confirmed that all five animal sanctuaries have reached maximum capacity and are accepting more dogs than they can handle.
Significantly, Bezzina underlined the fact that in Malta, overbreeding is not regulated. As it stands, anyone can breed up to four litters a year without requiring a register or license. She added that there needs to be more awareness and that: ‘a new law for breeders is being drafted’ in a bid to help ‘regulate the sector’.
Bezzina is pledging for all breeders to be registered, a re-introduction of a national neutering campaign, and a long-term plan to have a larger rehoming centre.
Despite having a capacity for roughly 80 dogs, the Association for Abandoned Animals (AAA) is currently holding 102 dogs: ‘We are more than full, but thankfully we have a good adoption rate so we can continue to bring in dogs every single day’, added sanctuary manager Rosalind Agius.
‘A dog is for life and a family member… as simple as that. Not for the COVID-19 lockdown, not for Christmas and not just for when you feel like getting a pet.’, she added.