In Malta and Gozo, there are an estimated 59,000 dogs, of which 25,000 are vulnerable latchkey, factory and farm dogs. Numerous stray dogs and cats roam on the island and as a result, unwanted litters of puppies and kittens are still being born every day.
A holistic approach
Working alongside SPCA Malta, we have created and are implementing a range of extensive neutering and responsible pet ownership campaigns on the island to tackle the stray dog problem on many levels.
Our campaigns aim to create a greater sense of responsibility amongst pet owners and local authorities whilst giving practical support to owners and councils – thus ensuring that this sense of responsibility is turned into positive action to help to reduce the numbers of pets straying and being destroyed.
Our approach involves offering a broad range of programmes to address the various aspects of the stray issue, focusing very much on attacking the stray dog problem in areas where it is most severe.
Campaigns Manager, Sarah De Cesare (pictured) is locally based to oversee project developments on the ground and undertake a huge amount of liaison with the local authorities, sanctuaries, vets and other organisations on the island to identify ‘hotspots’ and local needs and issues.
Campaigns target ‘owned dogs’ rather than stray animals – as irresponsible dog ownership is at the root of street animals issues – and these are being addressed initially in three main ways:
- A free neutering campaign (funded by Dogs Trust) is in place and promoted on the islands. Owners on social government benefits (excluding children’s allowance) are able to take their dogs to any of the existing participating veterinary clinics and have them neutered and micro-chipped entirely for free. As well as people receiving benefits, we have this offer available to hunters.
- A number of local “Roadshow” campaigns - which will target particular localities where strays are more commonly found, offering free neutering, micro-chipping and a health check to all residents. The Dogs Trust team visits these localities for a short time to speak with the community and offer these free vouchers along with help and advice on responsibly caring for pets. People taking up this up can book their dogs in for the neutering operation, the micro-chip and healthcheck (including de-fleaing, de-worming and vaccination) at one of the participating local vets, provided that the owners live in the selected area. Whenever possible, our Education Officer will at the same time visit schools in these areas with the greatest stray problems.
- A free neutering, micro-chipping and transport service for farm dogs and factory dogs - Dogs Trust visits local farms and factory dogs with wandering dogs on their premises. We not only offer free neutering and micro-chipping but also offer to transport the dogs to and from the veterinary clinic for the operation. In its first year of operation, Dogs Trust Malta has successfully neutered over 2,000 dogs, 21% of which live on farms where over-breeding is prolific. This number continues to rise as the hard work of the campaigns team continues.
You can contact the Campaigns team on:
(Mobile) 777 111 00 or 7962 22 62.