Gozo SPCA reports shocking destruction of cat colony

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Gozo SPCA cat colony area destroyed in VictoriaUpdated: SPCA photographs added: Some ten days after having their equipment destroyed and their personnel verbally and physically assaulted, Gozo SPCA have said that they have suffered yet another act of vandalism, but this time by the Victoria Council.

A Gozo SPCA spokesperson said that on the morning of the 27th of November, without prior warning, workmen informed the SPCA that they were there to remove trees and bushes directly in front of the Gozo SPCA Centre. Furthermore they instructed the SPCA to remove the shelters where an established cat colony, which is looked after by the SPCA, was located. Betty Berry (the Centre Manager who was on holiday in the UK), frantically phoned officials in the Ministry and the Victoria Council to ask that the work be suspended until she and the Mayor could discuss the arrangements for the cat colony. Eventually Mrs Berry and the Strays officer were assured by the workmen and a Councillor that this would be the case and that work would be suspended pro-tem. On the strength of these assurances, the SPCA called off a proposed vigil to ensure that nothing took place. The workmen did however add that if they were ordered to carry out the work, then they would not be in a position to refuse.Gozo-SPCA1.jpgThe spokesperson went on to say that to their horror and dismay, when the SPCA volunteers arrived at the Centre later on in the afternoon, they found that the work had taken place and that the cat shelters had been unceremoniously dumped in front of the SPCA Centre. When an official of the SPCA queried with the self same Councillor why he had gone back on his word without notification, he was told by the Councillor that the cats had no rights to be there.

The spokesperson said that the cats had been living there for the last twenty odd years, certainly many years before the Victoria Council ever existed. It is common local knowledge that the colony exists and it is mentioned in almost every issue of the Gozo SPCA newsletter, which is distributed to the Ministry and the Council, free of charge. Certainly any official inspecting the site prior to sanctioning the works, could not have mistaken it for anything other than a cared for cat colony. The Society is incredulous that such callous behaviour by an official body towards the ecology and the existing environment could take place in this day and age.Gozo-SPCA2.jpgThe spokesperson said that such behaviour ranked along side the cruel dumping of unwanted animals in skips that the SPCA has to battle against every day of the year. The notion that animals do not have any rights, or that the existing ecology should be simply ignored in the name of progress, seems to persist at the highest of levels. The Gozo SPCA despairs that this brutal message from an official body will undo the many years of hard work, during which the SPCA have been trying to teach the contrary.

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    17 Responses

    1. God's Creatures(EU). says:

      We just cannot understand this cruel and unsociable action taken by the officials responsible. In our opinion as animal lovers and foreign residents in Gozo – the only alternative is the resignation of the people responsible for this travesty.

      Over 20 years of respect has been ruined by a minority of Gozitan officials, I cannot start to describe the ignorance and stupidity of these people who should know better about how to treat these poor abandoned animals.

      I’m sure a lot of outsiders coming to Gozo will bear such action in mind and certainly would think twice about coming to the island.

      Sorry but we think this is gross mismanagement on the part of the authorities. It is certainly not a welcome advert for potential tourists……

    2. James A. Tyrrell says:

      This act of wanton destruction is disgusting in the extreme. Having said that what more can you expect from the authorities in Gozo, which as far as I can see is a total waste of time and resources.

      I have been coming to Gozo for years now and would like to continue to do so but things like this make me wonder what the hell sort of people are in charge.

      Just yesterday the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) in collaboration with the Gozo Tourism Association organised a one-day seminar on ‘Marketing Gozo as a Tourism Destination’ and whilst that is happening officials from the Gozo authorities are destroying an established animal shelter.

      I’m tempted to ask The Minister for Gozo exactly how this type of storm trooper action ties in with the Eco Gozo concept, but I doubt if I would receive a sensible answer from her.

    3. Had Enough says:

      Like the poor creatures featured here, we have been living in Gozo for well over twenty years, but this latest action by the authorities has prompted us to make the decision to give up everything and move away.

      We have invested in a property here and more recently a business. We have also made a great number of friends within the local community whom we shall greatly miss.

      However, we cannot continue living in a middle ages style feudal system where the authorities continue to ride roughshod over the wishes of the majority of right thinking people in Gozo. Relying instead on the long instilled fear of most people which prevents their true feelings being voiced – locally known as the Gozo omerta.

      In other countries this system was dispensed with centuries ago, here in Gozo it seems to be still deeply rooted and indeed becoming worse, dramatically illustrated by yesterdays actions at the Gozo SPCA.

      I hope and pray that one day Gozo shall have true democracy, sadly until that day we must bid adieu……

    4. Jason says:

      @ Had enough

      I sympathize with you fully, as a Gozitan things like this makes me very saddened and speechless.

      I personally know Betty Berry and know how much effort she puts into the SPCA .

      What do us Gozitans want, a banana republic where everyone does whatever he feels like?

      I’m sorry to say that these last two incidents involving the Gozo SPCA do not give a good impression of us as Gozitans.

    5. Very Angry Person says:

      We too invested in property in Gozo, but after 2 years I think we may pull out, this is the last straw and I think we have made a big mistake. What with the rubbish left everywhere and now this. Gozo tourism is already down because of the recession and the publicity this will get will surely make people think twice about coming to Gozo. The SPCA needs the Gozitans support and this sort of thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth. What has happened to the nice people of Gozo.

    6. Lesley Kreupl says:

      I was very saddened, appalled in fact, and angry to read the SPCA press release a few minutes ago when I opened my emails and GozoNews. The Victoria council has many things to be ashamed of, but this really takes the cake! Who are the councilors responsible? Name and shame please!

      I realize, and can understand, that not everyone likes stray or homeless cats and dogs wandering around, but we are the ones who abandoned them in the first place and therefore it is the responsibility of us all to care for them. The SPCA is doing such a sterling job looking after the results of cruelty perpetuated by certain ‘so-called Christians’ that for them to be treated like this is very sad indeed.

      I am sure that the cat-colony did no harm and certainly must have helped to keep the mice and rat population down in this very messy area of Victoria.

      Shame on the councilors involved – I won’t elaborate on my wishes for you!

      Betty, Mark and all the other wonderful SPCA volunteers, please don’t be too downhearted – this island needs you all so badly and I am sure that the majority of the Gozitans appreciate what you are doing, even if they can’t acknowledge it.

    7. C James says:

      What an appalling thing to happen. I hope all the cats are safe and have been given shelter elsewhere.

      The authorities should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for their total lack of concern for animal welfare, and lack of honesty to the Gozo SPCA volunteers.

      Eco-Gozo? What a sick joke that’s turning out to be.

    8. David says:

      Just as a matter of interest, do the officials in Gozo and those of the local council actually read these comments or are we the only people who care about the island and are wasting our time in writing about such cruelty to animals.

      Sometimes I have my doubts as it seems as though we are talking to deaf ears.

      We read tourist adverts on our buses and bus shelters highlighting this island, with strong emphasis on the Calypso Island where time stood still…Stood still ok as most are still in the dark ages regarding the treatment of animals.

      I hate to think what would happen if Betty Berry, who is doing such a fine job, decides to call it a day! Who is then going to manage the Gozo SPCA? THE LOCAL COUNCIL????

    9. George Dent says:

      Having been on holiday to Malta many times, I was thinking about coming to Gozo next year for a change. This report has made me think twice.

      Unlike countries such as Greece and Spain where scenes of animal abuse are commonplace, we expect Malta and Gozo to uphold some basic standards of animal welfare. Sadly it seems that this expectation won’t be met in Gozo.

    10. Phil says:

      Try as I might here…I simply cannot see how the allegation of damage and destruction can be made against the Council.
      Is the allegation of a criminal nature?

      If anyone, not just the GSPCA, uses land belonging to another then the danger of eviction always exists. If a cat colony existed on my land, irrespective of how long it had ben there, it would be MY decision whether it continued or not. That’s how the law works. It’s cold and hard sometimes but we can’t subscribe to a society where anyone can use other people’s land for any purpose they see fit. If you don’t agree, say so, and I can come to your land and build my boatyard at leisure.

    11. A lot of people are complaining individually and the only rational voice seems to be that of Phil who points out that the land did not actually belong to the SPCA anyway… Surely better to band together and speak to the council more often as a block and get closer rather than be forced further apart..?? Don’t let emotion get in the way of what for the council is business… Just an idea..!!

    12. Carmel says:

      It’s not ideal for the Gozo SPCA to have it’s premises in a Public garden and close to an inhabited area.

    13. Mario says:

      @Carmel So are you suggesting the closure of the Gozo SPCA centre in Victoria?

    14. Carmel says:

      Mario i am only suggesting a new Gozo SPCA building in an outside urban area.

    15. A Punter says:

      Some officials (as we are referring to them) just couldn’t care less. You only have to walk into any governing body in Gozo to realize that most of these people obtained their jobs through people they know NOT what they know. Its a very archaic set up here in Gozo with regards to governmental employees. You only have to spend five minutes in some government offices to understand these people that are employed by the government do not know their backside from their elbow. I know many Gozitans who are appalled at this news but most peoples attitude seems to be “what can we do” I agree with the person who mentioned its not a great advert for Gozo and it is very sad. However having said that I do see a growing support for exposing these mindless fools and that stretches across all sectors. Bring on the revolution lets reclaim the streets and put Gozo back on the map watch this space.

    16. youngfranksmith says:

      Reading the views of A Punter is it surprising that some Gozitan officials act the way they do. In the face of such insufferable arrogance I dare say we would do the same at home in UK.

    17. MYRIAM says:

      These letters should be addressed to Giovanna Debono, I hope she reads them all and does something about this as no visitors want this, or better still the Prime Minister of Malta.

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