Are you looking for a new pet? So ‘adopt, don’t buy’

People who want a pet are encouraged to adopt a cat or dog rather than buying one, as there are hundreds living in shelters across the island.

“Adopt, don’t buy” will be the theme of a campaign soon to be launched by the Animal Welfare Commission to ease the pressure on shelters which currently house some 200 dogs and around 1,000 cats.

The awareness campaign will consist of 10 different 30-second video clips that will be broadcast on television.

“The animals in the clips are actually those available for adoption at the Animal Welfare Sanctuary in Għammieri,” Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina said.

She noted that the state-run foster center in Għammieri also depends on volunteers, who, along with the employees, take care of everything – from feeding and cleaning the animals to adoptions – which is why they sometimes take a long time to process an adoption application.

Before allowing someone to adopt an animal, volunteers ask questions to make sure they’re putting the animal in good hands, Bezzina said, urging people who want to adopt to be patient.

As the world celebrates World Animal Day today, Bezzina, who took on the role of Animal Welfare Commissioner at the end of 2020, noted that she has long been calling for increased space at Għammieri.

Stray dogs are being turned away from the sanctuary because it already houses double the number of animals it can accommodate.

Lack of space at the shelter, which is run by the Animal Welfare Branch, was described in the management’s annual report as one of the main factors hampering the management’s operations.

“Space is increased but delivery is slow. This leads to situations where only injured animals can be rescued and others roam the streets,” Bezzina said.

The government has promised to provide additional spaces by the end of the year.

Another pressing issue is the need to regulate and control animal husbandry.

“We can have all the space in the world, but if we don’t stop the flow from above, it will never be enough,” she stressed.

The management report had also pointed to understaffing and reliance on volunteers.

To adopt an animal as a pet, call 2292 8615.

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