Recent news has served to highlight the sheer frequency of cases of animal abuse in Malta – and, as a result, put a spotlight on the work being done (or lack thereof) by the authorities responsible.
Animal Welfare has long tried to be at the forefront of safeguarding Malta’s creatures, but many activists seem to agree that their efforts have been anything but satisfactory.
Lovin Malta spoke to Mikel St John, founder of NGO Animal Protectors and full-time cat rescuer. This is what he had to say about Animal Welfare.
“10 to 12 years ago I thought Animal Welfare was decent. Today, to be honest, I have no idea what they do.”
Earlier this week, Mikel took to Facebook to speak out about a particular incident which seemed to further strengthen his opinions about Animal Welfare.
“So two kind angels find a dog that’s limping in the streets – filthy, full of scratches, looks beaten, and is starving – and Animal Welfare returned him to his owner,” St John wrote.
“Can you get any worse at the job you totally suck at?”
Many animal lovers in the comment section shared his sentiments – and upon speaking to Mikel, it seems like this was just one of many similar incidents.
“One of the many hundreds of incidents involved a husky. I had found this husky, which was grey in colour and had nails that were around two inches long,” Mikel told Lovin Malta.
“A friend of mine took the dog home to wash him, and afterwards it turned out the dog was actually white.”
Mikel explained that there is a law stating that once you find a stray dog, you have to make a report to the police before keeping it yourself. This is allegedly to ensure that a lost dog can be returned to its rightful owner before being adopted.
“Apparently however, someone had seen us pick up the dog, because shortly after, Animal Welfare came to pick him up to return him to his owner – he didn’t even get a fine,” Mikel continued.
“In a matter of months, we found that same dog on the streets three times – the second time he was in a terrible state, with a rope around his neck.”
Mikel went on to highlight yet another issue with Animal Welfare – this time concerning the collection of lost animals from the streets.
“I saw a puppy at Dingli Cliffs, and I could tell he was lost, so I called 1717, that’s Animal Welfare’s number, and told them to come pick up the dog,” Mikel said.
“They said they couldn’t because he wasn’t injured. I went to tell them who I was and only then did they come pick up the puppy.”
Mikel has gained quite the reputation with Malta’s animal rights activists – and with good reason.
Not only does he house a whopping 60 cats, but he’s also got two Alsatians and a Chihuahua. Apart from that he feeds around 70 stray cats every day and frequently goes off on rescue missions to help animals in need.
Animal Welfare’s alleged inaction seeps into one of the most recent cases of animal abuse in Malta – a case that resulted in the death of 95-year old Ineż Galea.
“So many people had reported the state in which the pit bulls were living, people could see that they were living in their own poo,” Mikel said.
“The guy had a Facebook page blatantly saying he’s a pit bull breeder!”
As Mikel recounted anecdote after anecdote about his experience with Animal Welfare, it became clear that many believe that this institution is in dire need of reform.
“A solution for this can be having NGO’s run Animal Welfare – who do their job for free but do a great job.”
Lovin Malta made several attempts to contact Animal Welfare throughout the past week, but our requests to speak have remained unanswered.