Man charged over dog's death
A four year old female boxer was discovered at 8am on Friday 30 September in a skip in the small village of Kalkara in the South of Malta. A lady walking her dog heard cries coming from the skip and after calling a passing jogger over to assist, they rummaged through the refuse where they found a dog gasping for air inside one of the bags. Barely alive, the dog had a high fever and was severely dehydrated.
The dog was immediately transferred to the San Frangisk Animal Hospital at Ta' Qali where she was named Gaia. Sadly, despite all efforts to save her, she died the same evening. Given Gaia’s level of dehydration, it is thought that she was dumped in the skip the night before and had been left fighting for her life for over 13 hours.
In the 24 hours following the discovery, the police received a number of phone calls providing details of the suspected owner of the dog, leading to the arrest and interrogation of a 56 year old man from Vittoriosa. The man, Joseph Galea, told police that he decided to dispose of the dog because she was sick and walked for almost an hour from Vittoriosa to Kalkara, where he dumped her in the skip.
Mr Galea has been charged a record €20,000 and faces a nine month jail sentence. The court also ordered that two dogs be taken away from Mr Galea, who has since filed an appeal. Mr Galea has a previous history of animal abuse, when in 1988 he was fined for kicking a dog.
International Animal Rescue spokesman Max Farrugia said that this is the second barbaric case of abuse to dogs in Malta in just a few months. He added that the initiative taken by the Ministry of Rural Affairs to enforce microchipping in all pet dogs is a great step towards putting an end to such acts of cruelty. The Ministry is financially subsidising the microchipping and have insisted that all dogs must be chipped by the end of May 2012, or owners can expect to face a fine or prison sentence.