Owner ordered to remove dogs after biting incident

The owner of several fighting dogs has been ordered to remove the animals from a Vittoriosa property, after one of them attacked a neighbour

Daniel Orsini had been taken to court by Piju Borg, who owns and operates a pig farm adjacent to Orsini's land. Borg claimed that the defendant had illegally constructed several small stone huts, to house his dogs, along the passageway which Borg accessed his property.

Borg alleged that the presence of the dogs impeded access to his property, as on one occasion, one of the canines had broken free of the chain tying it to the wall and attacked one of the plaintiff's farmhands.

This constituted an intolerable inconvenience and grave disturbance, the farmer argued, as it deprived him of the enjoyment and free access to his property, which he could only access at the risk of his health.

Several criminal decisions against Orsini had been of no benefit to Borg, as the former not only breached the court-imposed obligation to keep his dogs under control, but had brought in other, more ferocious dogs.

Borg asked the court to declare that Orsini's rearing of the dogs constituted a grave disturbance of his right to enjoy the property and to order the defendant to permanently remove the dogs from the passageway.

In his decision, judge Joseph Azzopardi, presiding the First Hall of the Civil court, said that he was convinced that some form of grave disturbance existed and that it appeared to have started around the time when the first police report had been filed in October 2011. It also noted that in the intervening years, the disturbance had been attenuated somewhat, as the number of dogs had gone down from six to two.

However, the court upheld the request for the dogs' removal, saying that it was clear that it is the responsibility of the defendant to take all the measures necessary to ensure his dogs posed no threat or disturbance to the plaintiff.