Dogs Trust expanded to the island of Malta in 2009. We were interested to learn more about the UK's largest dog welfare charity in Malta and to see how things are going for them, as well as find out how the public can help. Following is an interview with Sarah De Cesare, Campaigns Manager for Dogs Trust Malta.
Q - What is Dogs Trust Malta and what is your goal?
Dogs Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity. In 2009, Dogs Trust teamed up with SPCA Malta to promote responsible pet ownership and improve standards of animal welfare on the island.
Our experience both in the UK and internationally can be used to reduce the numbers of street dogs, help improve standards of animal welfare, support existing charities and raise the status of companion animals in Malta.
The partnership between Dogs Trust and SPCA as well as the cooperation between Happy Paws Clinic and the Animal Welfare Department has already improved the lives of thousands of dogs in Malta and Gozo by helping owners to pay for veterinary treatments and procedures.
Both organisations have been campaigning to help spread the word of responsible dog ownership across the country. To date, both organisations have run a successful campaign offering free neutering and micro-chipping for dogs belonging to those that receive social government benefits as well as farmers, hunters and factory dog owners.
Q - How many people are helping out on a regular basis and how can the general population of Malta help?
Dogs Trust is proud to have a wonderfully dynamic and passionate team, set to improve the lives of thousands of dogs in Malta and Gozo. The team consists of Sarah De Cesare, Campaigns Manager, Ian Cuschieri, Senior Campaigns Assistant and Moira Delia, Education Officer. The organisation has just recently added three more members to the team; Sharon Linwood, Coordinator, Frank Azzopardi, Junior Campaigns Assistant and Joseph Pisani, Junior Campaigns Assistant. Together, the team work tirelessly to provide help and information to the public.
If you would like to support Dogs Trust and SPCA in our work to improve the lives of animals in Malta, there are a number of ways to get involved as a volunteer:
We will be running local roadshows to promote responsible dog ownership, and would love some assistance in spreading the word. Volunteers can help with supporting the team by talking to the locals about our offers.
Do you have some spare time to help distribute leaflets for our campaigns? We have lots of information to get out into the community just a couple of hours a week will ensure that all animal owners will hear what we have to say.
If what you're looking for is to be more hands on with animals, visit the SPCA in Floriana to offer a hand with dog walking, cleaning, and giving the animals there a cuddle! They could also use help of people willing to run errands, perform admin duties and use the help of electricians, carpenters and handymen. The SPCA has recently opened their new charity shop in Sliema, which features a high-end retail outlet providing all sorts ranging from household goods to a new wardrobe! Here they could really use the help of shop volunteers. No previous experience is required as training will be given.
If you are interested in helping in any of the above roles or want to help in another way please call us on 7962 22 62 or email us.
Q - Have there been any situations where your (Dog's Trust's) work was criticized?
Dogs Trust is working with all NGO's, the Animal Welfare Department and the Malta Veterinary Association. We are here to work with anyone who shares the common goal of promoting responsible pet ownership which will ultimately contribute to a better life for owned and stray animals.
As a dog welfare charity we have limited resources but have a solid commitment to investing in the welfare of dogs on the island. We are thankful that the public have responded very favourably to our presence in Malta and for allowing us to contribute to the situation as best we can.
Q - In which other countries does Dogs Trust operate?
Dogs Trust is based in the UK with 17 rehoming centres spread across England and most recently, Ireland. Each year Dogs Trust cares for around 16,000 dogs at our nationwide network of Rehoming Centres and no healthy dog is ever destroyed.
Dogs Trust came together for a unique project in a bid to show that the only way to humanely reduce the number of street dogs is through the Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programme. This was done in Romania in early 2010. In 2003 there were an estimated 4800 street dogs in the Oradea and Bihor area. After just seven years and 18,000 dogs neutered the street dog population dropped by 90% to just 512. An incredible number of approximately 216,000 unwanted puppies have been prevented.
Q - What changes in animal welfare would you hope to see in future?
Dogs Trust Malta and the SPCA Malta have this joint mission - "Through Dogs Trust's neutering campaign, the SPCA's rehoming centre and a shared children's education programme, we have a mutual goal of ensuring responsible pet ownership and a happy, healthy future for all dogs throughout Malta"
We believe that through proper education on responsible dog owernship we will one day see our streets free from abandoned animals.
For more information, please visit the Dog's Trust Malta homepage.
You can subscribe to the Dog Trust Channel on YouTube for some valuable information on dog training.
People are waiting to help.