Police descended on a site in the limits of Mosta today to arrest a father and son team who were squatting on land that wasn’t theirs. Not only that, but police then found around 20 dogs, all which had been microchipped, as well as 16 horses being kept in terrible conditions. There were also 60 chickens, 23 turkeys and 18 rabbits.
TVM reported that Animal Welfare officers, Rapid Intervention Unit, Administrative Law Enforcement, and Lands Department officials visited the site this morning at about 9:00am at Biżbiżija after months of trying to get the squatters to leave the land.
The men were offered an alternative site to go to, which they refused. When police officers showed up on site, the men began to throw rocks at them, before letting the horses loose on the police officers.
The son bit an officer’s hand, while another officer sustained a fractured arm during the fracas.
The father and son team were eventually detained and arrested. They are expected to be arraigned in court after attacking Lands Departments officials and injuring four police officers.
The authorities found about 20 microchipped dogs, which were reportedly stolen. TVM reported that some owners were contacted by the Animal Welfare department after verifying the chips and informed the officers that their dogs had indeed been stolen somewhere between a year or two ago.
Authorities also found nearly 30 horses in squalid conditions, and officers from the Mounted Police Section were called in to round up the horses and handle them until new housing could be found for them.
The police have also put out an appeal to animal welfare groups as well as private citizens to help them find new, suitable housing for the horses.
Attention turned to the Government-owned land in Mosta and the squatters occupying the land after the Government received an expression of interest to turn the area into a retreat. A clean-up of the area is to be scheduled.