On October 13, Anthony Vella was given a 2-year prison sentence suspended for four years and a €20,000 fine for keeping around 50 dogs in an unacceptable state in his Zejtun home. Beyond the fine and the suspended prison sentence, the dogs in Vella’s residence were released and immediately fell under the custody of the Animal Welfare Directorate.
The case, dating back to May 2018, also revealed that some dogs were being kept in cages in the man’s garage, triggering a national discussion on animal welfare in Malta. Minister for Justice and Governance Edward Zammit Lewis took to Facebook to condemn such acts and highlight the importance of the recent legal amendments affecting animal abusers.
Being a dog owner and animal lover himself, Zammit Lewis shared his sentiments attached to a photo which included his dog, Charlie. The Minister called upon the public to show love to each and every animal because our treatment of animals reflects on ourselves.
In 2021, the Minister for Justice, together with the Minister for Agriculture Anton Refalo and Commissioner for Animal Welfare Alison Bezzina put forward a legal amendment which prohibited animal abusers from owning or being in the same household as an abused animal, even if it is not the same animal which was abused. The amendment came as a breath of fresh after multiple calls for increased laws protecting animals and speaks volumes about the commitment to Malta’s animal population.
Are you aware of the current laws protecting animals?