‘People Making Thousands Out Of Ħandaq Dog Fights’ - MP Reveals Tip-Off On Brutish Hobby
"It will be a tricky operation and I hope the police have the willpower to see it through"
Nationalist MP Mario Galea has revealed that the dog fights he flagged in Parliament last week are allegedly taking place in Ħandaq.
“From what I heard, the fights seem to be taking place in Ħandaq early in the morning,” Galea told Lovin Malta. “I don’t think it’s wise to expose exactly where the fights are happening but it’s a notorious place.”
He added that up to 200 people attend the fights, mostly to bet on which dog will triumph, and that thousands of euro exchange hands during such illegal gambling. While water buckets are used to break the fights up, Galea warned that the fights can get deadly and that dog owners sometimes kill their pets after they lose a fight.
The Times of Malta reported last week the the police are investigating Galea’s allegations but that clamping down on it could be tricky as they would need to catch the dog fighters red-handed. When police raided a dog fight several years ago, they found around 200 people watching it from their cars, and they promptly drove off as soon as they spotted the officers.
Nationalist MP Mario Galea
However, Galea urged the police to take the accusations seriously.
“They must conduct an overt operation and enter in full force,” he said. “It won’t be an easy operation but I hope they have the willpower to see it through, because sometimes that’s what investigations hinge on.”
A spokesperson for parliamentary secretary for animal rights Clint Camilleri told Lovin Malta that they don’t have any further information about the alleged dog fights other than what Galea has flagged.
He said that the country’s largest dog-related problem in recent years was the act of chaining dogs, a practice that was criminalised a few months ago.
“We noticed a huge difference since the law passed and indeed owners who were used to tying their large dogs up in a field ended up letting them go,” he said.
Indeed, he attributed this reaction to the new law to a recent spike in animal adoptions - from 457 in 2016 and 493 in 2017 to 710 in 2018.
Cover photo: File photo of Ħandaq (Google Maps)