I haven’t written in a while but I can assure you that I haven’t gone away…actually I did, but just for a few days, and whilst I was away, the unimaginable happened – The Chained Dogs law was finally passed on the 5th October!!

As luck would have it, after years of lobbying, meetings, pulling strings, pushing buttons and knocking on doors in order to get this law passed through, it finally happened when I was out at sea for 7 days without an internet connection!

Whilst I still don’t understand why it had to take so many people, so much effort and so much time to pass a law that had absolutely no opposition, I can’t be happier that it finally did. In fact, on behalf of all tethered dogs out there, and also on behalf of those who are being let out on the streets, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who contributed to this success… you know who you are.

 

The law now says the following “No individual can keep a dog tethered, or cause a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained or restrained to a stationary object as a primary method of confinement.”

This means that a dog can and should be kept on a leash when out for a walk but at home, or wherever the dog is kept during the day / night, there needs to be some kind of enclosure for everyone’s safety. The law also stipulates the size of the enclosure.

Should you encounter any chained dogs please call 1717 or the police – technically the owner is breaking the law and the police should be able to get involved (but that’s in a normal country of course).

And now, on to our next battle for our fury friends.

MEP Miriam Dalli who also had a lot to do with the final passing of the Chained Dogs law in Malta,  has now taken on a challenge on a European level.

True to her character, Dalli is pushing mindsets (and hopefully legislation) into new territory, with the aim of improving animal welfare across Europe.

Earlier this year, I held a meeting with MEP Dalli, where  I highlighted the issues with pet welfare and the inhumane conditions of companion animals in air transport.

Dalli listened, actively listened in fact, (which is more than I can say about the many other politicians and people in power that I tried to speak to in the past), and following that meeting, MEP Miriam Dalli presented two Parliamentary Questions to the European Parliament, as follows :

Subject:  Conditions of companion animals in air transport
A number of airlines allow a limited number and type of pets to travel in the cabin while others limit cabin travel to assistance animals. For this, owners pay a fee ranging from EUR 30 to EUR 200, allowing the pet to be kept under their legs or underneath the seat.

The fee does not allow for a possible seat allocation, even though passengers might require more leg space.

It is has been scientifically proven that the stress levels of animals increase in air transport, which may have a negative impact on the health of pets.

The travel crate dimensions dictated by airlines determine that the dogs are able to stand up and turn around in the crate. In practice dogs, even those under 5kg, are unable to turn due to crate measurements of 40cm x 34cm x 20cm.

Given the fees already being paid, from a consumer protection point of view, can the Commission look into the suggestion that pets in crates be allowed on their owner’s lap, as opposed to being crammed in a tight space?

Would it be possible to allow pet owners to buy a passenger seat in order to allow their pet more space and a bigger crate?

 Subject:  Companion animals
The welfare of pets is currently not the subject of EU legislation.

The Commission argues that the EU’s competence on animal welfare is limited by treaty and that it is not, as such, an EU objective and is only relevant if it affects EU policies such as the internal market, agriculture or public health.

The introduction of pet welfare under EU animal welfare law could provide a common understanding of animal welfare across Europe. It could propose a clear set of duty and care obligations for users and keepers of animals that would further have a positive impact on public health.

Moreover, a definition of companion animals is required if the EU is serious about fighting the extensive illegal trade in companion animals across Europe.

1. Is the Commission prepared to take the lead and promote specific EU legislation addressing the welfare of companion animals?

2. Does the Commission agree with connecting national and EU databases to track the breeding and trade of companion animals, as well as to allow identification traceability?

3. An EU-wide database could help with the issue of traceability. Does the Commission plan on pushing for such a database?

I’m informed that it could take up to 6 weeks for a reply, so watch this space; I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, here’s to you MEP Miriam Dalli.

 

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  • Rita Buhagiar says:

    We are in need of an urgent National Cat Nuetering Campaign . Please do concider before it is too late to avoid the much suffering they endure.

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