The death of a nine-year-old dog at the hands of a negligent pet groomer has shocked animal lovers across Malta, but the Animal Rights Ministry has yet to comment on whether laws will be introduced to regulate such services.
Bolt, a healthy family terrier, died last week after suffering a trachea injury whilst at a pet groomer. Following the incident, the dog’s owner took to social media to call for more regulation pet services.
“Did you know that groomers in Malta are not licensed? Did you know that there are no standards-setting the level of service to be given?” Bolt’s owner said on Facebook.
“We are not naming the groomer because this negligence was reported to the relevant authorities. However, until there is legislation in place regulating this service, these avoidable accidents will keep on repeating,” he said.
The lack of pet groomer regulation has recently surfaced, but the issue also concerns pet kennels, breeders and trainers as well, who also enjoy offering their services with little regulation and oversight.
In fact, despite multiple advertisements for pet sitters, Malta only has two officially licensed boarding facilities on the island.
Last year, a popular, self-proclaimed dog trainer faced mounting allegations and criticism from animal activists that he could be abusing dogs under his care.
The dog trainer denied all allegations despite anecdotal accounts of dogs returning to their owners in worrying states.
With no laws regulating dog trainers, no legal action was taken.
Lovin Malta reached out to the Animal Rights Ministry to inquire about whether any legislation is being discussed to regulate pet services. However, attempts to make contact have fallen upon deaf ears.
Meanwhile, Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina has submitted a report recommending the legislation of pet groomers, trainers and sitters.
The Animal Rights Ministry has also failed to provide updates on the introduction of bestiality laws in Malta, despite comments made by Minister Anton Refalo 10 months ago that laws need to be updated.
As it stands, Malta is one of a handful of European countries that does not outright ban sexual acts with animals. The issue permeated public debate last year when a man was caught committing acts of bestiality with sheep on a farm.
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