Neglected Żejtun dog owner ‘didn’t know’ about poor living conditions until just before animal welfare confiscation

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The 65-year-old owner of several neglected dogs that were confiscated from a home in Żejtun says he was unaware of their living conditions after leaving them in the hands of a former employee and dog keeper.

Tony claims he was forced to leave his home in Żejtun and move to Birżebbuġa following complications with his neighbors.

He took with him 35 show dogs, which he said were granted to him by his late wife who worked at dog shows across Europe after his death, and left eight dogs in his makeshift office to Triq Toni Zahra.

“We took 35 dogs to Birżebbuġa, but we couldn’t rehabilitate them all because they were fighting, so we left a few behind,” he told Lovin Malta.

One of the 35 show dogs residing in Birżebbuġa

Tony says dogs are healthy

Tony says dogs are healthy

In his place, Tony left the eight remaining dogs in the care of his daughter and the employees who housed them upstairs, while the downstairs of the building served as an office for his construction company.

“Office workers don’t go up to see the dogs,” he says. “Three dogs were fine and running around the house, but two were blind and had to be kept upstairs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Tony’s vulnerable status, the dog’s owner has stopped coming to the house.

Tony also claims his daughter had to self-quarantine in Gozo as the situation deteriorated.

“I am almost 65 years old and due to COVID-19 I was unable to go see the dogs due to my vulnerability,” he said.

“About four weeks before the confiscation of the animals, we had an incident when one of our employees and I had to fire him.

The same employee was the dog sitter in charge of looking after the eight dogs in the Żejtun house, and with Tony’s daughter in quarantine, there was only one employee left to look after the dogs.

“One of my employees gave them food and drink, but he only told me on the Friday before Animal Welfare arrived that two of them were in poor condition,” he said.

“As soon as I found out, I told him to put the dogs down, but they were fragile. They were around 14 years old and both were blind, ”he continued.

Despite their old age, photos uploaded by the Abandoned Animals Association show dogs in serious condition with missing fur, teeth and bulging eyes.

DISCLAIMER: PHOTOS GRAPHICS BELOW

“The dogs lost a lot of hair and a few days before playing in the water it was raining. They were dirty because they were playing, ”Tony said in response to the photos.

Following several reports, the following Tuesday, Animal Welfare confiscated the dogs and turned them over to AAA.

“Animal Welfare came to my home in Birżebbu twicea twice and found the dogs in perfect condition,” he said.

“We will fight in court to get them back.”

Tony is currently facing a masterly investigation over the confiscation of the dogs.

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