It is now illegal to chain dogs

New regulations lay down that chaining dogs to stationary objects is illegal and inadequate collars, including chains, have been banned

Chaining dogs permanently only makes them more aggressive, research shows
Chaining dogs permanently only makes them more aggressive, research shows

Chaining of dogs is now illegal after the government put forward subsidiary legislation to ban this practice, Animal Rights Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri said.

The new rules were based on Nationalist Party MP Mario Galea’s private member's Bill put forward in 2016 that called for a ban on dog-chaining.

The rules are also based on the EU legislation. A majority of EU countries view this practice as cruel and have deemed it illegal.

Malta's laws also specify that inadequate collars will be considered as inflicting suffering on dogs.

Camilleri said that “until today the Animal Welfare Act did not provide any legislation to regulate the keeping of dogs, so it was imperative for this new subsidiary legislation to be put in place as this will now ensure that no individual keeps a dog tethered as a primary method of confinement”.

Camilleri said that the legislation follows consultations made with NGOs working with animals in Malta.

What the law says

  • It is illegal to tether, fasten, chain or restrain a dog to any stationery object as permanent housing or primary method of confinement. Confinement must be adequate.
  • Restraining of dogs by leash is permissible during walks when using a handheld leash or during veterinary procedures. Collars must be adequate. 
  • Transportation of dogs must safeguard the welfare of the dog.
  • The law also stipulates new dog enclosure specifications to ensure that no enclosure causes unnecessary suffering or injury.

Camilleri said that dogs were naturally social beings that needed interaction with humans and other animals. "Intensive confinement and longterm restraint can severely damage their physical and psychological wellbeing," he said.

The issue cropped up in 2016 following a walk held by hundreds of animal rights advocates in St Julians against the practice of dog chaining.

PN released a statement saying that it was satisfied that government finally ceased its two-year lingering on this issue, an issue initiated by the opposition in 2016. It also said that new regulations don't amount to anything unless they are coupled with enforcement. 

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