Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary was founded some four years ago by Fabio Ciappara with the help of a handful of his friends who included retired British ex-pats.
We met Minister George Pullicino in September of 2004 to discuss aspects of animal welfare. We also explained our urgent need for land for a sanctuary because of the pressing stray dog situation.
In that same month we called a meeting of all animal rescue NGOs who issued a joint press release to confirm their common ground regarding the neutering of stray dogs and cats.
While we waited for the lengthy procedures required for the promised assistance from the government we were lucky to obtain premises suitable for a sanctuary on a farmer’s land in the limits of Paradise Bay. We started to set it up in November of that same year. During these past 18 months about 200 dogs have passed through our care. At present the sanctuary can care for about 100 dogs that are kept in relative comfort. They are fed, exercised and given all necessary veterinary care. A few of the dogs that we have re-homed have gone overseas.
At the end of January 2005 the Community Chest Fund Animal Welfare sub-committee decided that the LM5,000 raised for animals by “l-iStrina” in December 2003 would be distributed for neutering dogs and cats. We have to date no idea if the whole amount of money was actually utilised and would appreciate if the Community Chest Fund would comment about this.
Minister Pullicino has done his best to assist us in our projects. He visited the sanctuary recently when we were obtaining legal title to the place. His comments were very favourable. He offered to assist us within the limits of his ministry’s resources.
With all respect to the Minister we have to put on record our disappointment at the inertia of the Animal Welfare Council and the lack of enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. It is our opinion that unless both these are revamped the situation of so many unhappy animals will not improve. Immediate action is necessary.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the vets of Malta who are generally forthcoming to assist with rescue dogs. Our thanks go to The Veterinary Association President Dr. Martin Debattista who has assured us their support.
However, we cannot see any positive action from the Department of Veterinary Services. Every time we call them into action regarding animal ill treatment it takes a lot of effort and resources on our part to ensure that they take action. It appears that the law procedures, as they are now, stifle their enthusiasm. On another note, we cannot understand why the Department of Veterinary Services cannot delegate a couple of their vets to neuter a few strays per week! Like all our fellow NGOs, we rely on charity to perform this vital service as well as every other function of animal rescue.
Neutering of stray dogs is not the only answer to decrease the number of abandoned animals. Most of the strays and puppies that we pick up are discarded domestic pets. Neutering of domestic pet dogs should be encouraged. Abandoning an animal is against the Animal Welfare Act of 2002 but only positive identification can help enforce the law.
The Mellieha Local Council has realised the value of our efforts and we thank Mayor John Buttigieg for his assistance and also for offering to host this launch at the Local Council offices.
Jutta Spang’s initiative to help Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, following her holiday in Marfa in October 2005, is laudable. On her return to Germany she traced an organisation who was willing to assist us. She succeeded in convincing ITV Grenzenlos to fund a neutering programme for dogs in our region. I invite Jutta Spang to recount her wonderful story.

Mark Vella Bardon

Noah's Ark Animal sanctuary