More awareness against animal cruelty please!!

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German Shepherd rescued from sea caveWritten by Suzanne Psaila – In view of recent happenings we must admit that cruelty against animals has become a serious problem on these islands and unfortunately those who commit the act are not aware of the gravity of their actions. Animal cruelty is a crime, against nature, against God and punishable by the law!

Unfortunately we still live in a world where too many human beings believe that the life of an animal is meaningless, that if you kill an animal it is no big deal – it is just an animal, no sins, no guilt, because “it’s just a dog” or, as many would say “u ijja mux kelb, mur ara“.

Somehow we human beings are trained to believe that we are the sole owners of the Earth and everything else is secondary to our existence. Since I was a child I was told (not by my parents) that we humans are the only creatures having a soul and therefore the only living beings that have a place in Heaven. As a child I could never believe this, but it goes to show how we humans are trained to believe that our species is superior, we have more power and more rights. We command and we make change…and indeed we have! We have built and destroyed, we have caused suffering, fought, killed and invaded territories and habitats taking possession of land and made up rules. Animals fight to survive, kill to eat and yes, they have their own territories that they limit and protect. We have made the Earth our own territory and if we decide that the animal kingdom has no place on this land we simply do not allow them to live on it. They even collaborate in our society working with police, farmers, helping blind people etc. Let’s face it, we do not own the Earth therefore we have to learn to cohabit with the rest of the animals. After all animals are God’s creation, just as we are, no more and no less! They have the right to live as much as we do. They were born with that right just as we were born with our rights, and none of these rights involve the right to kill – save for food!

If the animal sanctuaries are full and cannot take anymore animals what are our animals supposed to do? Euthanasia is not an option, yet again, we cannot choose when someone is brought to life and we should not choose when one’s life ends (save extreme exceptions), so since I am aware of the space problem in sanctuaries I would like to ask, where are these animals supposed to go? Where should the locals take animals they have just saved? More space is definitely required for both the healthy homeless animals and also space for animals that are sick but can still live. A sick animal has no chance of being adopted, but why should a dog be put to sleep if it has the chance of a life, even if a short one, filled with love and care by the numerous volunteers that love these animals immensely?

I am not in favour of stray animals for many obvious reasons but I have been to Athens and while the city itself is not so appealing one thing I truly admire is the ability of the locals to cohabit with a huge number of stray animals. They seemed happy, people gave them food and drink, they played, they found shelter – they built a life! I repeat I am not in favour of stray, but putting animals down for the lack of space is simply not an option, just like the case of 1996 where eleven dogs were killed (Ombudsman Report Case No. 748).

The ‘space’ issue should be given crucial importance. I am administrator of a group on Facebook “More Awareness Against Animal Cruelty in Malta Please!!” and I have received uncountable e-mails from so many members telling me stories of how they phoned animal institutions to turn in animals they had just saved and were advised to not take them there due to lack of space (one even explained that he was told to take the animal and 40Euros to pay for the lethal injection).

However I DO want to highlight that I have met so many people who work in local animal institutions, dedicating their hearts and doing their utmost, a few of whom even fork out money off their own pockets to help pay for treatment. I believe that while saying “Thank You” to these is not enough, there should be some sort of fund that keeps them going, and growing, making more space and living conditions better, perhaps even more housing for animals, even those that have a chance to a good life but are unhealthy. Let me point out that I grew up with a cocker spaniel in my house, a true best friend, diagnosed since she was a puppy with sand fly. We treated her, we loved and cared for her and she lived 9 very happy years just like a princess! There is hope!

To all those who abandon animals – and you know who you are! – open your eyes, your heart and your mind. You are perhaps the same people sitting in the front row of the Sunday mass, but your actions are definitely not Christian!

Let me close this by quoting:

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

Will Rogers, 1897-1935

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

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