Animal welfare

Animal Welfare is unable to carry out inspections or respond to 1717 for days due to staffing issues

Anyone trying to contact the Animal Welfare Directorate – tasked with helping the public with stray, injured and abused animals across Malta – via their 1717 helpline will most likely be left on hold as the entity suffers personnel issues.

A combination of resignations, sickness, annual leave and overtime restrictions to cover lost manpower among officers means there are virtually no animal welfare officers working to manage the inspections.

“Animal welfare is lagging far behind inspections as not only do we have officers on leave and sick, but a number of teams like ours have fewer people than are actually needed to work on inspections. and the ambulance,” an informed source told Lovin Malta.

“Sometimes inspections have to be carried out by the same two ambulance duty people between calls, which means that if an emergency arises, we leave halfway through the inspection or we arrive late for a rescue – we can’t be in two places at the same time and this has been going on for ages.

Over the past few days, hardly any inspections have been carried out in Malta and none in Gozo.

The remaining workers are sent to tend to the ambulance, as the emergency service – tasked with recovering and caring for injured animals – remains the top priority, alongside transporting animals to and from the vet and delivering from kittens to volunteers.

It is more likely that any new report will not be reviewed within a reasonable time.

This means that a backlog of abuse and neglect inspections is not only being dealt with in a timely manner, with some inspections being carried out weeks after the initial report, but seeing more cases piling up is a sad reality that has been the norm for over a year.

Most of the remaining workers are called upon to cover tasks for which they are unqualified – including unqualified (people not employed as animal welfare officers but working as animal welfare officers) or workers loanees (workers on loan from other government departments who have nothing to do with animal care or welfare) performing the duties of animal protection officers.

“We want to work and overtime to protect animal welfare and review reports. We are all animal lovers, but we are told that working overtime to cover lost labor during inspections is out of the question.

“The important thing for the management is that the stray animal ambulance is working, to do the discharges from the hospital and transport the animals here and there, which can be done by the caregivers or someone else, not an officer. The long hours spent daily transporting animals could be used for inspections.