The story of the pitbulls which attacked and mauled their owner Andre Galea is on everybody’s lips. This is the same irresponsable pitbull breeder whose pitbulls had mauled his grandmother and her chihuahua back in 2020.

Why was this irresponsable breeder who kept his dogs on the roof and which were clearly in distress since they barked all the time and who is accused of the involuntary homicideof his grandmother still allowed to keep on breeding and keeping them?

Why was Galea in separate proceedings cleared of animal cruelty when during the “criminal proceedings it transpired that the pitbulls that mauled to death his grandmother had scars that vets believe could be the remains of wounds suffered in dog fights?”

What a farse have our courts politicians police and the animal welfare department turned to! Animals across Malta are suffering due to the incompetent and ineffective administration of Anton Refalo and his Ministry! The Times reported that “it took Animal Welfare officers an hour” to get to the street of the incident and that a vet had to bring a sedative because as reported by the Times when it contacted Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina not all officers receive training with the necessary equipment even though the officers should have access to a tranquiliser gun:

“[I’m] not surprised though always disappointed that they are not equipped as they should be ” Bezzina said adding that a vet was still required in such cases to ensure the correct dosage is administered.

Is the Animal Welfare Office equipped with the right amount of resources? Is it conducting educational programs? Are officers being trained? Are all officers truly animal lovers and competent or were they politically appointed when the office was initially set up under the ministry of Roderick Galdes?

Incidents like these will keep on reinforcing people’s beliefs that all pitbulls are dangerous which is unfair and untrue. Pitbulls are not inherently aggressive. If they are it is because of in-breeding and irresponsable breeders. Some pitbulls are also bred for fighting or intimidation and thus this will cause them to have aggressive traits. Dogs can also attack if they are not fed well if they have little human contact if they are abused maltreated beaten hit or trained to do so. When they are in a pack the aggression might escalate too.

If shown love like other breeds pitbulls are loving too:

The Malta Daily reported that “animal activists and NGOs have been asking for legislation to control breeding and a temporary ban on the breeding of stronger breeds for years.” But who cares about the welfare of voiceless animals in this country? They don’t have a vote no? We have strays abandoned all the time; colonies of stray cats in each town which sometimes end up victims of the poisoning of the cold-hearted who think that animals do not have a right to share the world with us; carriage horses standing for long hours in the summer heat; horses racing on the hot Imnarja public holiday and the bird hunters who shoot at every living creature that flies because they have a monopoly on the castrated politicians. Then we have illegal dog fights of which I am sure that the police and the politicians know who when and where in this country where everybody knows each other. But neither the politicians nor the police want to take action.

I pity the dogs and side with the dogs which were taken into custody because they will have to meet (or have met) their unjust fate when after all they reacted against that person who abused them in the only way they know how – bite. Animals are a mirror of their owners.

On a final note I would like to address the parents to raise their children loving and respecting animals which also means educating them not to run up to a dog they don’t know; and not to pull their hair and tail or step on them especially when they are toddlers.

To all those who want to adopt a pet please make sure that you are ready for a long-term commitment. Pets are not disposable toys. To all those who want to own a pure breed go to a reputable breeder. Ideally adopt from sanctuaries which are full to the brim.

To all those who have dogs like I do please make sure that you train them and discipline them with compassion and non-violence. Make it a must to socialise your dog which means: exposing them to various sights smells and noise; to different body handling; to being neutral around people dogs and children; to maintain focus in highly distracting environments and to build positive associations with all of these factors!

Here is Cesar Millan a very famous Mexican-American canine professional whose videos with simple training tips about the owner’s posture leash handling and energy flow can assist dog owners on how they can train their pets:

My thoughts and love go towards the pitbulls and all maltreated dogs (and cats). The flawed laws flawed politicians flawed institutions and flawed departments have failed you. A whole society failed you. Anton Refalo failed you. Let us live in a society which loves animals too because as Mahatma Gandhi had said “You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals.”

Animals are never the problem. Their owners are. The individual’s energy is.

Leave a Reply