MEPA issues permit to make Centru San Frangisk fully-fledged animal hospital

The new permit will allow the centre to deliver more services to a larger range of animals

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority has issued permits to allow the San Frangisk animal welfare centre in Ta’ Qali to become a fully-fledged animal hospital, with the aim of restoring services in the coming months, MaltaToday has learnt.

Services at the facility were temporarily suspended from the 28th September last year, after it was announced that new operators Animal Pro Health Ltd (APH) would take over the facility, following a public call for applications. 

Sources said that the new operators had requested the new permit after becoming aware that under the previous permit, the welfare centre did not have a licence to operate as a clinic or hospital, but rather, as an after-care clinic. 

The new permit will allow the centre to deliver more services to a larger range of animals and the new operator will also include professional training for veterinary nurses and regular organizations to support the local veterinary profession at the centre. 

In fact animal rights parliamentary secretary Roderick Galdes had said during a ‘Gvern li Jisma’ public consultation session in November that the hospital would also provide services to farm animals, as well as a 24-hour pharmacy for medications used specifically for animals. 

According to the secretariat, the new management will also start providing a 25% discount to all registered Animal Welfare NGOs, as well as providing free care to 2,000 animals a year for the Animal Welfare Directorate. 

Work on the facility is expected to start in the coming days with the aim of re-opening the centre in a matter of months, although a concrete timeline is not yet known, sources confirmed.

In previous communications, the secretariat had also confirmed that the call for tenders, which had only received one submission, had been awarded for 25 years, to enable the premises to undergo a total conversion. 

Asked what options were open to people who needed care for their pets during the period when the service was suspended, the secretariat said it had introduced a system of 19 clinics, some of them on a rotation basis, that would be offering on-call emergency 24-hour services to clients.

The list of vets available includes St Simon vet clinic, Vetcare animal clinic, Highrise veterinary clinic, Animal Aid, St Francis Vet Clinic, Pets Vet Clinic, Qormi vet clinic, Best Friends veterinary clinic, Drs Med. Vet. L. & A. Borg vet clinic, Animal Doctors Vet Clinic, St Anne’s Vet clinic, Galea Veterinary Clinic, Blue Cross clinic, All Animal Clinic, Vetplus Services Clinic, the Veterinary Clinic, Pets and Vets Vet clinic, Dr Trevor’s Clinic and the Animal Doctor.