65- year-old Antony Vella has been served with a suspended sentence together with a €20,000 fine and a ban on owning pets after eight of his dogs were found neglected in his Zejtun home.
Vella was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for four years and his dogs were repossessed under the custody of Animal Welfare after they were found in a severe state of impoverishment in his residence. Animal Welfare also have the authority to pass the animals under the custody of third parties.
Together with the suspended sentence and the fine, Vella is also prohibited from raising dogs for a period of 25 years.
The court heard how the dogs under his care were made to suffer unnecessarily and that Vella had failed on multiple attempts to provide the required medical needs of his dogs.
Vella was also accused of keeping his pet dogs in small spaces without any air ventilation, proper cleanliness and high concentration of gas in the surroundings.
The dogs which Vella owned were once used in competitions but have since been abandoned once their prime had passed. Although the court acknowledged the small improvements that Vella started doing, the serious shortcomings were never addressed.
Vella’s case took a hit when the court took interest into how the dogs were provided with good medical attention while competing but once they retired they were left without adequate attention. Court therefore declared that since Vella had been providing this care, the situation should have never been allowed to deteriorate.
Vella had not shown any remorse for his actions, but the court opted for pecuniary punishment and suspended sentence, saying that it would be a more adequate punishment than a prison sentence.