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Allegations By Misinformed Persons: Animal Welfare Breaks Silence On Euthanised Dogs, As Activists Plan Protest 

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The Animal Welfare Department has pushed back against claims that it has been putting dogs showing slightly aggressive behaviour to sleep without attempting to rehabilitate them or address the causes of their aggression. 

Over the last weeks, several animal rights activists have gotten in touch with Lovin Malta and described a situation where dogs were being put down arbitrarily and without any proper assessment of how aggressive they are. 

While the law allows the department to put down dogs deemed to be aggressive, it does not specify how this aggression should be quantified, nor does it specify any protocol for how this should happen. 

Animal Rights Commissioner Alison Bezzina has said that she will be launching an investigation into the claims but it is the first time tha Animal Welfare Directorate has commented publicly about the allegations, describing them as allegations being circulated on social media by misinformed persons. 

“The directorate has rescued 423 dogs during the past year and currently has 84 dogs in its care, of which 23 are of the Pitbull breed or crossbreed. 

“Allegations that Pitbulls are put to sleep because of their breed are false. The directorate has also successfully homed 21 pitbull dogs this year alone, along with dozens of other breeds.” 

Activists who spoke to Lovin Malta said that at least nine dogs were “arbitrarily” put down this year, including three pitbull dogs earlier this month

The directorate also rejected claims that the dogs were being put to sleep because of a lack of space at its facility. 

Regarding claims that employees and volunteers were being forced to sign non-disclosure forms to stop them from revealing what they were seeing, the directorate said that in reality this “data protection form is in place to ensure that court proceedings related to the animals in Animal Welfare care are not hindered or jeopardised”. 

Furthermore, the directorate said that aggression in dogs could take many forms, from aggression linked to dogs being territorial to aggression due to pain or even predatory aggression. 

“Unfortunately, on rare occasions, the directorate has had to make the difficult decision to euthanise a dog based on medical illness or mental disorders. This is not an easy decision to make but when it is decided upon by a board, the welfare of the animal in question is always factored in, as well as the risk it poses to the welfare of other animals or safety of humans,” the directorate said.

Activists are in the meantime planning a protest outside the directorate’s office next Saturday.

Speaking to Lovin Malta, the protest’s organiser Charmaine Zammit said the protest was intended to “give a voice to the voiceless”.

She maintained that a number of Pitbulls had been put down in recent months, including three that were put down earlier this month.

While she acknowledged that one of the dogs had shown some aggression, they were generally well-tempered and friendly with the volunteers that handled them regularly.

“We want to reduce the stigma towards Pitbulls and to put an end to the killing of innocent dogs,” she added.

Zammit said she was aware of nine dogs that had been put down this year, with there possibly having been more.

What do you make of Animal Welfare’s explanation?

READ NEXT: €2,300 Offered For Info Over Gruesome Cat Burning As Animal Right Group Suspects More Victims

Yannick joined Lovin Malta in March 2021 having started out in journalism in 2016. He is passionate about politics and the way our society is governed, and anything to do with numbers and graphs. He likes dogs more than he does people.

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