Commissioner launches investigation into handling of shot dog

Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina launches investigation into the handling of a shot dog by Animal Welfare officers

The Animal Welfare Commissioner has launched an investigation into the handling of a shot dog by Animal Welfare officers.

On Friday, the Association for Abandoned Animals (AAA) posted two videos on Facebook showing the officers attempting to rescue a dog which was found with gunshot wounds.

The video shows the dog, Snoops, screeching in pain as it attempts to escape. In the video the dog is seen rolling on the ground as it tries to free itself.

“This is how Snoops was ‘rescued’ by the animal welfare officers after he was shot by some trigger-happy criminal,” the AAA wrote. “This is the reform that we were promised. So-called animal ‘rescuers’ are scared that they will get bitten or scratched, and so-called ‘officers’ are scared of getting dirty with blood and vomit. Resign, make space for animal lovers to take up these jobs, you are not fit for purpose.”

Snoops was rescued by AAA last week, having been the second dog shot in separate incidents.

In a press statement, Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina said she is aware of the incident and has launched an investigation, stating she has sought details from the Animal Welfare Directorate.

Since 2021, the Commissioner has been advocating for the strengthening of human resources within the Animal Welfare Directorate, specifically targeting inspectors and officers. These personnel were inadequately represented in terms of quantity and lacked the essential skills, training, and attitude required for the proficient execution of their duties. 

“The recommendation was accepted by The Ministry for Agriculture, and integrated into the animal welfare reform document revealed last year. Unfortunately, tangible outcomes have however been limited,” she said.

It is important to clarify that the Commissioner's legal authority is strictly advisory. Any recommendations provided to address a situation are not obligatory. The Animal Welfare Directorate maintains autonomy in deciding whether to take action and implement these suggestions.