Pet adoptions could be made easier by creating a website where anyone looking to adopt an animal would find a list of all cats and dogs in need of a home, recommends Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina.
This would help tackle the overcrowding of animals in sanctuaries and free up space for rescues, she said.
This was one of the recent proposals presented to the Animal Rights Ministry by Bezzina who took office almost a year ago.
She has since made various recommendations, one of which led to a change in the law whereby courts can now prohibit a person convicted of animal cruelty from keeping animals.
Speaking on World Animal Day, Bezzina said one of the pressing animal welfare issues to be addressed was the overpopulation of stray animals, many of which ended up in sanctuaries that are now packed.
That’s why she also recommends a state-funded sterilization campaign.
Until then, there remained the challenge of finding a home for the existing wanderers.
“The problem is that the supply of potential pets far exceeds the demand in terms of people seeking adoption. I wish to see the day when having a pet is a luxury and not a commodity, ”she said.
One of the barriers to getting people to adopt sanctuaries, as opposed to purchasing a pet, was the complex and time-consuming process.
Currently, those who wish to adopt a cat or a dog must contact the different sanctuaries separately, ask if they have any animals that match their needs, arrange to visit the sanctuaries and hope to find a good partner.
Creation of a website, where all shrines can download basic
information on animals in need of a home would make things faster and smoother and save sanctuaries time.
Besides having photos and videos of the animals, the sanctuaries would also tag different key variables to describe the animal – such as age, sex, height / weight, temperament, medical needs, fine with children, good with cats / dogs etc.
In turn, potential adopters visiting this portal would also mark their preferred variables and the system would automatically associate them with available animals that match their criteria.
The portal would only be the first step in the adoption process, which would then be followed by physical checks, home assessments and trials conducted by the shrines themselves, as is the current normal process.
To mark World Animal Day today there will also be the very first Animal Honor Awards where 10 animals and 10 people will be recognized for their contribution to animal welfare.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.