Breeder banned from owning dogs after neglecting his pets in his Żejtun home

He was served a suspended sentence and must pay a €20,000 fine

File photo
File photo

A 65-year-old dog owner is now prohibited by court from owning or raising dogs after eight of his own dogs were found neglected in his Żejtun home.

Dog breeder Anthony Vella was served a suspended sentence on Tuesday after his dogs were found living in squalor in his Żejtun residence.

He has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for four years. He must also pay a €20,000 fine over the next three years.

His dogs will now be placed under the custody of the Animal Welfare Directorate. The directorate will also be authorised to pass these animals under the custody of third parties.

Vella will additionally be prohibited from owning or breeding dogs and from applying for any form of dog license for a period of 25 years.

The 65-year-old was charged with having made his dogs suffer unnecessary pain and for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of his dogs were met.

He was further accused of keeping his pet dogs in a restrictive space in terms of law and air circulation, dust levels, temperature, air humidity and gas concentration.

In turns out that these dogs were used in competitions and, once they were not in their prime, were discarded only to be kept in wholly inadequate conditions.

The court acknowledged that the accused tried to address these shortcomings, but remarked that progress had been slow, and serious shortcomings persisted, never to be addressed.

The court raised concern over the how the dogs were given good care and treatment while competing in competitions, but once past their prime were doomed to a life in cages without adequate attention.

It remarked that the accused should never have allowed the situation to degrade in the way it did, and should have never kept such a large number of dogs inside a house that was not equipped to host them.

According to the court, the accused never showed any remorse for his actions nor concern.

The court considered that the accused spent a long period of time caring for and raising these dogs, arguing that he should have known that the condition they were found in was not adequate.

Yet the court said that an immediate prison sentence would not give the expected result. A better deterrent, the court added, would be a pecuniary punishment added to a suspended sentence.