A Plea For Improved Animal Welfare-Clarissa Bondin

We all know how brutal Summer in Malta can be. Temperatures are soaring, yet there are stray dogs and cats roaming the streets. A number of good souls often post photos of these animals online, in the hope of reuniting them with their former owners or else to find a new home for them. Contact is sometimes made with the Animal Welfare Department, but it seems that their policy is to only pick up dogs or cats if they are sick or injured. When the animal is not injured, the caller is advised to check whether the animal can be given shelter within an animal sanctuary. Unfortunately this is rarely possible as most animal sanctuaries are full and cannot accept more stray animals.
We are often bombarded with advice to take care of ourselves in this heat, to apply sunscreen frequently, to drink water, and to stay in the shade as much as possible as the sun’s UV radiation may have harmful effects on us. Unfortunately animals do not seem to be afforded the same concern. It is the responsibility of the animal welfare department to ensure that animals are safe and protected and, as stated in its own mission statement, it should safeguard the interests of animals such that their lives are free of “any human violence, maltreatment or distress” and “should be free from coerced physical and psychological suffering”.

Stray dogs and cats should not be left to battle the heat without any food or water. I would like to encourage the authorities to revise the policy being adopted at the moment by the Animal Welfare Department. I believe that some additional resources should be allocated to resolve this problem. Some public property presently lying unused could be allocated for use as new sanctuaries. The centres could be open to volunteers so that animal lovers could do their bit. Much could be achieved if an effort was made to take this issue seriously.
Written by Clarissa Bondin