Animal rights campaigners want ban on breeding and import of bully dogs

Animal rights NGOs launch online petition for temporary ban on breeding and import of all bully dog breeds

The Animal Welfare Directorate denies it has a blanket policy to put pitbulls and aggressive dogs to sleep
The Animal Welfare Directorate denies it has a blanket policy to put pitbulls and aggressive dogs to sleep

Animal rights NGOs are calling for strict rules against abusive and illegal breeding of dangerous dogs.

Following the seizure of 27 bully breed dogs found in horrible conditions and rescued by Animal Welfare, the NGOs Vuċi għall-Annimali, Association for Abandoned Animals, Gozo SPCA, Noah’s Ark Dog Sanctuary and The Island Sanctuary are calling for a temporary ban of the breeding and importation of all bully breed dogs as also proposed by The Commissioner for Animal Welfare, until the situation has adequately improved.

“We advocate for a comprehensive approach to address this issue, including stricter regulations against abuse and illegal breeding practices, increased efforts to enforce existing laws, and initiatives to promote responsible pet ownership and adoption,” the NGOs said.

READ ALSO | Doggy dilemma: Ban bully breeds, or crack down on bad ownership?

The proposed ban would include also mixed breed bully breeds.

“This petition aims to gather public support to safeguard these breeds and their mixes from exploitation by abusers and backyard breeders. Too often, these dogs are abandoned with cropped ears and lacking microchips, which indicates that illegal ear cropping practices are still being done in Malta. Additionally, many are tragically subjected to dogfighting or used as bait-dogs, while female dogs are exploited as puppy breeding machines,” the NGOs said.

An alarming overpopulation of these breeds end up in sanctuaries or animal welfare facilities, with few prospects for adoption. “It is unjust and unkind to confine these dogs to a lifetime in pens. It is important to state that this ban is for specifically the ban of breeding and importation and does not mean a ban of any dogs already in care.”

Animal Welfare officials rescued 27 bully breed dogs from a Ħaż-Żebbuġ residence after they were being kept in bad and unsanitary conditions.

Officials confiscated the dogs after they received a report. After entering the residence to confirm reports, dogs were found in steel chains and in a bad condition. Among the confiscated dogs are two female dogs who had just gave birth to puppies.

The dogs were successfully relocated to housing pens. Some of the dogs need to be administered veterinary care because of the dire conditions they were found in.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina said this was another case of the ongoing issue surrounding bully breeds, insisting a ban on the breeds needs to implemented immediately. “Should another similar case happen again tomorrow, there will be nowhere to house the dogs. I am informed that it took a massive logistical effort to house the dogs confiscated today,” she said.

In her 2021 end of year report, Bezzina had called for a nation-wide ban on the importation and breeding of bully breeds. She argued that bull breeds account for many dogs which are abandoned by their owners and thrown out into the streets.

She also insisted that sanctuaries are no longer housing bully breeds as they tend to be more energetic and aggressive than other dogs, and end up not being adopted. “This is why I want a ban on these breeds,” she said.