Hikers were unable to reach the Delimara coast last weekend as their path was blocked by two aggressive dogs, who had been chained to crudely-built structures.
The video, taken on Sunday evening by one of the hikers, shows how a ‘structure’ composed of an old boats, old cars, wood, rocks and metal has been erected to ward people off accessing the coast. To scare hikers off, a pit bull and a white shepherd have been chained by the neck to the structures, left to bark aggressively at passers-by.
The person who took the video told Lovin Malta, on condition of anonymity, she had a similar experience when she went hiking in Delimara 18 months ago, only last time the dogs’ owners had been present and had yelled at her to stay away from the salt pans by the coast.
“It is clear nothing has changed for the better for these animals,” she said. “It is also dangerous for passers-by…can you imagine if that pitfall were to sink its teeth into a child? I didn’t feel scared because there were 20 of us in our group, but it could be quite scary for smaller groups.”
Later on the path, the hikers also bumped into electronic bird callers, birdsong-minicking speakers used to attract birds to a site often used by trappers. Although they are legal in and of themselves, it is against the law to use them for hunting and trapping purposes.
“Nature in Malta is limited as it is and everyone should have the right to enjoy it,” the hiker said. “I find it so sad when some people just keep it for themselves and mistreat dogs to scare people away.”
The area in Delimara is a notorious hotspot for illegal hunting and trapping and is operated by a family the Times of Malta has cheekily dubbed as “The Untouchables” as a result of their blatant hunting illegalities and illegal developments on public land over the years.
Two years ago, one of the ‘Untouchables’ was handed a two-month suspended sentence and fined €200 for attacking two conservationists from BirdLife Malta who had gone to Delimara to record illegal hunting and trapping activities.