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MT 27 March 2016

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MIRIAM DALLI ANIMAL lovers are up in arms over the authorities' apparent iner- tia in getting a fully-fledged animal welfare department up and running on the sister island. Though talks to set up a depart- ment covering the island of Gozo have been going on since 2006, nothing has so far materialised. Meanwhile, volunteers are find- ing it problematic to pick up strays – especially the injured ones – as a veterinary service subsidised by the government has also been stopped. Although a voluntary animal or- ganisation is present on the island, its sanctuary can only handle 10 dogs at any one go. MaltaToday is informed that the current administration has pro- vided an ambulance and has com- mitted itself to launching a call for officers – a call which so far has not yet been made. According to sources, a search is also underway in an attempt to find a suitable location for an animal sanctuary. Over the past two to three years, the burden of responding to calls and picking up stray or injured ani- mals has fallen on one woman who is always ready to drop whatever she's doing to go and assist, be it night or day. "There was a time where I would just grab my car and go. I would take the cat or dog home, give it food and shelter and then try to rehome it," Heidi Grech, 37, told MaltaToday. Grech is not a vet or an animal welfare officer but she does it out of her own love for the animals. Responding to emergencies has become less problematic since the current administration provided an ambulance, but it's still not easy chasing an injured stray alone. "You need more than one person to handle an animal if the cat or dog is injured, in pain and frightened." To make matters worse, a veteri- nary service subsidised by Malta's Animal Welfare Department was recently stopped. Grech must now rely on the animal welfare officers in Malta. It is estimated that 75% of injured animals in Gozo end up dying due to the lack of immediate care by a vet. "Truth be told, the welfare officers in Malta are very helpful and they do their utmost to reach Gozo at their earliest. But the reality is that it is becoming very difficult to save an injured cat or dog if they have to cross the channel to get to it." Taking the ambulance to Gozo also means that the service is one ambulance down, creating a back- log in Malta. Questions sent to the Ministry for Gozo and the parliamentary secre- tariat for animal rights remained unanswered by the time the article went to print. maltatoday, SUNDAY, 27 MARCH 2016 News CAR LOAN With a Car Loan from Banif Bank, getting behind the wheel has never been easier. And I can sit back and enjoy the ride while Banif secures my current lifestyle. Personal Loans Plus Protection include an insurance cover taken out by the Bank in its name to protect myself and my loved ones in case of unforeseen circumstances. BELIEVE: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE JOURNEY PERSONAL LOANS PLUS PROTECTION rates from 5 % p.a. * * The loan is subject to the Bank's lending criteria. 'Personal Loans Plus Protection' incorporate an insurance cover that protects clients in case of accidental death, temporary or permanent total disablement or redundancy. Banif Bank (Malta) plc shall be the policy holder. Details relating to the policy are available on the Bank's website ( A typical example is based on a loan of ¤10,000 repayable through monthly instalments of ¤126.93 over a period of 8 years at a variable interest rate of 5% p.a. Loan is subject to an administration fee of 4% on the monthly instalment. The total sum payable throughout the term of the loan is ¤12,672.96, with an APR of 6.57% p.a. Banif Bank (Malta) plc is a credit institution licensed to undertake the business of banking by the MFSA in terms of the Banking Act 1994. Registered in Malta C41030 – 203, Level 2, Rue D'Argens, Gzira, GZR 1368, Malta. Delays in rescuing injured strays increasing Gozo animal deaths Mellieha man guilty of grievously injuring neighbour PIERRE Buhagiar, 51 of Mel- lieha, was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to grievously injuring his neighbour. The neighbour, a Libyan national, was hit on the head with a baseball bat after an argument broke out between their women. Isam Moham- med El Shahumi reportedly had an argument with Bu- hagiar's wife after the latter complained of water falling down onto her washing line. The court was told that the argument escalated to the point that El Shahumi tried to push over the woman and challenged Buhagiar to a fight. Buhagiar hit him with a baseball bat. He also said that he had filed multiple police reports over inconveniences caused by the Libyan man, includ- ing leaving the garbage bag outside Buhagiar's apartment and allowing his dog to re- lieve itself in the building's common parts. In delivering sentence, the court argued that it found Buhagiar's actions excusable because he had been putting up with El Shahumi for a number of years.

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