When will Anton Refalo change the laws when it comes to animal welfare and when will our court take animal abuse seriously?
By Marica Micallef
Dogs are like children in many ways as they are also vulnerable and dependent on adults in order to have their basic needs met. They are at our mercy. But, while children at one point grow up and gain their independence, dogs remain dependent on humans for food, water, shelter, exercise, stimulation, and socialisation.
Like children, the love or lack of it they receive from a human, can make or break the dog accordingly. A dog is the only creation on earth that loves his owner more than he loves himself. A dog is just pure unconditional love. The only time a dog breaks your heart is when he dies.
In Malta, the laws surrounding animal welfare are flawed and a flop. Yet neither Anton Refalo nor any other minister before him, changed them and enforced them.
In Malta, the laws allow dogs to be permanently kept on roofs, in garages, balconies and yards. In other words, they are locked up and confined in a space with barely human interaction, when dogs crave human contact. One must also imagine how these dogs feel trapped in such confined spaces in a heatwave or on cold days. To add insult to injury, the laws do not specify the length of time that a dog can kept in confinement. Local laws also allow dogs to be chained as long as the chain is of a certain length. All this is abuse and neglect.
The laws in Malta state that as long as food, water, shelter, natural light and cleanliness are provided, keeping dogs in the above confinements is legal, there is no animal abuse and the owner can continue to keep the dog confined and chained. This is still abuse. But dogs are voiceless and cannot ask for their freedom or for your companionship or to be next to you inside the home.
When it comes to space, the current minimum requirements for dog enclosures are also absurd as the below table shows where N is the number of dogs:
We cannot keep on closing an eye to their suffering. We cannot keep on looking the other way when we are faced with the suffering of others. We cannot become numb and make believe that nothing is happening.
Suffering is suffering, whether it is a child, an adult, an elderly person, or an animal. We are all God’s creation and just as we humans ask Him for mercy, then we should not make those who are at our mercy suffer.
So, when will Anton Refalo change these laws and see to their enforcement and when will our court take animal abuse seriously?