Another tragedy. Another heartache.

A beautiful, adorable German Shepherd who goes by the name of Kim, was found dead the next day it was told that it went missing. He was found at the base of a steep slope in Gharb, a known spot where the pet sitter allowed a pack of dogs to run close to the cliff’s edge.

Needless to say, the owners are devastated and I am sure it will be a painful path of acceptance and healing for them. I send all my love, and understanding. I, like other animal lovers, are grieving with this family as if this beautiful dog was our own.

Kim was being taken care of by a pet sitter when the tragedy happened. Apparently, this pet sitter walks dogs on the cliffs without the leash. According to a comment I came across, the day that Kim went missing, the said pet sitter went to a concert.

What is also of great concern is that this is not the first time. Last month, an adopted staffie breed by the name of Ruby was described as having ran away by this pet sitter. Ruby also disappeared at Gharb, where the German Shepherd Kim was found. Ruby’s owners are ready to give 5k if she is found or returned back.

These are the posts by Association for Abandoned Animals:

This was not the first case that we had, which was reported publicly and officially of a dog who due to negligence, died at the hands of a pet sitter. Back in 2022, we had another case with another pet sitter. Loui, a one year and four months old golden labrador, died while at an unlicensed pet sitter. He died after ‘he was left unattended in the presence of work materials including pieces of wood and metal (fildiferru) which he ingested.’

Another woman also commented that the same pet sitter who was taking care of Kim, had another case in 2021 when another dog also went missing and was found later:

Anton Refalo and Alicia Bugeja Said, when are you going to work on those long awaited laws and regulations of pet sitters and groomers? Back last March, Newsbook reported that Anton Refalo had claimed in parliament, that “laws regulating pet sitters, boarding kennels and pet groomers are in their ‘final stages.'” In which stage are they now, Anton Refalo? Did you all sleep on it?

Opposition MP Janice Chetcuti had asked you when will the proposed draft law be finalised and tabled in Parliament. Has this been done?

Newsbook added that up till the time of the reporting, neither a White Paper was issued on the proposed reforms, nor “a public consultation has taken place, despite repeated requests by animal rights activists to discuss the way forward.”

It was in November 2022 that “Parliamentary Secretary Alicia Bugeja Said announced the plans following the 2023 Budget launch. A spokesperson for Bugeja Said had told Lovin Malta, that legal notices relating to pet sitters was in “its final legal vetting stages”. Needless to say, it has been in vetting stages since then, it seems!

And this lack of regulation of pet sitters came with yet another incident when an owner ended up fuming after she found that her nine-year-old dog Samoyed was fitted with an electric collar while it was kept at a dog sitter, without her consent, so that the dog is prevented from barking!

Anton Refalo, can I ask what is going on and why aren’t things which truly matter, being done? How many animals have to suffer in this country so that things are done? How many families have to suffer because of incompetence from your ministry?

And by regulating pet sitters and groomers, I hope that it does not solely mean that they are qualified, vetted, registered and taxed because there is much more than this in taking care of animals! A person must not only be responsable but specific set of rules must be set up like: the required space and premises; the number of dogs that can be kept at the same time; that no animal is to be left unattended not even for a second; that ideally, they are not kept in packs; that they are not walked in a specific time in summer and never to be let off the leash! And an endless list! They must also be listed on a government’s website and have inspections done!

Anton Refalo and Alicia Bugeja Said, when are you going to act?

And for all those who cannot understand how it feels, or who just say ‘it’s just a dog’, here is something to think of for you, a poem written by Richard A. Animals titled ‘Just a dog’:

“From time to time people tell me ‘chill out, it’s just a dog’ or ‘it’s a lot of money just for a dog.’ They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time invested, or the costs incurred by ‘just a dog’. Some of my proudest moments have occurred with ‘just a dog.’ Many hours have passed being my only company ‘just a dog’, but not for one moment did I feel despised. Some of my saddest moments have been because of ‘just a dog,’ and on those gray days, the gentle touch of ‘just a Dog’ gave me comfort and the reason to get through the day. If you also think ‘it’s just a dog’, then you’ll probably understand phrases like ‘just a friend’, ‘just a sunrise’ or ‘just a promise.’ ‘Just a dog’ brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust and pure unbridled joy. ‘Just a dog’ brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. For ‘just a dog’ I will get up early, take long walks and look forward to the future. So for me and people like me, it’s not ‘just a dog,’ but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the memories of the past, and the absolute joy of the moment. ‘Just a dog’ brings out the good in me and takes my thoughts away from myself and daily worries.I hope one day they can understand that it’s not ‘just a dog’, but the one that gives me humanity and keeps me from being ‘just a human’. So the next time you hear the phrase ‘just a dog’, just smile because they ‘just don’t get it’.

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