A lack of human resources is the biggest issue hindering the operations of Animal Welfare, the department’s newly-appointed director said.
Speaking on today’s episode of Lovin Daily, Animal Welfare Director Patricia Azzopardi explained how the department’s depleted workforce is unable to cope with the workload, which consists of daily inspections and responding to emergency calls from the public.
“The Animal Welfare Department needs to be upgraded,” Azzopardi said. “There’s a lack of staff that we can’t cope with all the incidents and all the accidents on the road”.
Currently, Animal Welfare has a total of just 12 inspectors working around the clock. Yet, the department has constantly come under criticism for not responding appropriately to calls and reports, somewhat diminishing inspectors’ reputation and hard work.
“It takes a special person to work at Animal Welfare. It’s not a clerical job, you have to deal with many situations. We have some special people with us,” Azzopardi continued.
Although Azzopardi has identified a lack of human resources as the major pain point, a lack of pet owner responsibility has also inundated the department and put undue pressure on its resources.
“We’re embarking on a national campaign to encourage people to neuter their cats and dogs and to get them microchipped,” she said.
Moreover, a lack of legislation and a regulatory framework also results in irresponsible breeders, who are only encouraged to continue their operations when people choose to purchase instead of adopting.
“There are breeders who breed just for the money and when you buy from these irresponsible breeders, you’re just increasing the demand,” Azzopardi continued.
“Think about the mother that gave birth to that puppy. Irresponsible breeders don’t provide proper care for those animals. The better option is to adopt. There are so many beautiful dogs and cats in sanctuaries.”
While no legal framework exists to regulate breeders, Lovin Malta is informed that talks are being held to discuss the potential of introducing some form of licensing and legislation.
Meanwhile, legal amendments are being made to empower magistrates to ban people found guilty of animal abuse from owning pets in the future.
“We do need to have better legislation and frameworks so we can address these issues. However, slowly we are moving in that direction,” Azzopardi said.
Lovin Malta is also informed that the highly-anticipated and long-overdue pet cemetery is just months away from becoming a reality, so people can bury their pets in a dignified manner.
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