A pet owner has called for grooming services to be regulated following the death of his nine-year-old dog that suffered a windpipe injury caused by grooming equipment.
Miguel Buttigieg explained how he took his “overall healthy” dog, Bolt, for a grooming session but was handed back a “wheezing dog” that had to be rushed to emergency services.
“We handed over Bolt full of life,” Buttigieg said. “We picked up a wheezing dog, with whom we rushed to emergency vet care where we discovered that our dog had suffered a trachea injury.”
“This led to his respiratory system collapsing. In just a matter of hours, the situation went from walking with a healthy dog to walking away with a lifeless body”.
According to the owner, the groomer used a cable noose as a neck restraint on the agitated dog, causing him to wheeze and sustain the injury.
“But apparently a wheezing dog is not something one should stop to check out,” Buttigieg continued while claiming that it was negligence by the groomer that killed his dog.
“All that was needed was for the groomer to use appropriate equipment,” he said.
“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?” he asked.
In fact, it isn’t just pet groomers who can operate without a licence in Malta. Those who offer pet boarding facilities, as well as breeders and self-proclaimed dog trainers can also operate without a license, resulting in cases of abuse and further negligence with little consequences for those responsible.
A quick online search on pet-sitters in Malta reveals that there are at least 25 facilities ranging from one-star reviews to five star reviews.
However, Malta only has two registered pet boarding facilities – Tat-Tarġa Kennels and Niveksu Kennels. Anyone else who offers a pet boarding service is doing so without a license.
“We lost our boy not because of old age, nor a disease. We lost Bolt due to negligence,” Buttigieg said.
“Our Bolt could still be alive if this service becomes licensed with an expectation of providing a high standard service of care. Until that happens, until the relevant authorities take the necessary measures, we need to know better. Do not let this happen to you or to anyone you care about,” he ended.
Lovin Malta has reached out to the Animal Rights Ministry for a comment.
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Animal Welfare Alison Bezzina has submitted a report recommending the legislation of pet groomers, trainers and sitters.
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