Illegal to poison animals when there is no possible threat that they are pests

Animal lovers across the nation have called for the banning of poison from shop shelves

In recent years, there has been a rise in pet-owners calling for the ban of poison from shop shelves, after an increased usage of poison being reported on Facebook advocacy groups
In recent years, there has been a rise in pet-owners calling for the ban of poison from shop shelves, after an increased usage of poison being reported on Facebook advocacy groups

The Commissioner for Animal Welfare has said that the poisoning of animals, apart from those considered as pests and threats to a sanitary and healthy environment, is considered illegal.

“Obviously the poisoning of pets is definitely a case of animal cruelty which would also constitute wilful damage to the pet’s owner in contravention of the criminal law, with both cases punishable in terms of the respective legal provisions,” retired judge Dennis Montebello said.

In recent years, there has been a rise in pet-owners calling for the ban of poison from shop shelves, after an increased usage of poison being reported on Facebook advocacy groups like RUBS (Are You Being Served) Puppy Love.

Various owners have denounced the indiscriminate manner in which entire cat colonies are being poisoned.

Owners have reported poison mixed with cat food, meat and other sources of food resulting in the death of hundreds of cats across the country. Due to the uncontrolled use of poison, pets roaming the countryside or even urban areas are suffering the adverse effects of poison. Several pet dogs and cats belonging to families have been killed.

Tristan Galea, whose cat was poisoned by what his vet believes to be snail poison, said his cat would occasionally jump over their court yard wall, and wander around neighbouring countryside areas. “It once came back home limping, foaming at the mouth and losing balance. I was lucky enough to spot him and immediately realised that something was wrong,” he told MaltaToday.

Galea quickly rushed his pet to the Ta’ Qali APH Veterinary Hospital, and was lucky enough to save his cat through intensive care. “The vet told us he wouldn’t promise us anything, but luckily its stomach was flushed, the drip was attached and it managed to make it.”

Veterinarian Alex Schiro said the two main poisons available on the market are snail and rodent poison. “Snail poison attacks the animal’s nervous system almost instantly, inducing spasms and violent shaking. On the other hand, rodent poison takes 2-3 days to kick in, causing haemorrhages in the body, with severe bleeding in the eyes and various parts of the body,” Schiro said.

Schiro said that when pet owners realise their pet has consumed poison, they should try to induce vomiting and then rush the animal to the vet. “Snail poison may leave some nerve damage, but rodent poison leaves no damage at all,” Schiro said. “Unfortunately there is nothing as efficient as poison to control pest species.”

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