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What you should know! ….. if a dog is handed to Gozo SPCA by the owner, then we can legally rehome it immediately. If a dog is picked up by Gozo SPCA , or given to us ‘owner unknown’, then irrespective of whether the dog is chipped or not we have to care for it on behalf of the owner for 7 days. After 7 days we take legal ownership of the dog. What we are allowed to do within the 7 days is to foster the dog; which is what we have done in many cases and will continue to do so. If the owner appears before the 7 days, they can reclaim the dog. This interpretation of the law is used by other sanctuaries and deemed acceptable by the Animal Welfare Department.
What to do if you find a stray dog
OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT ADVICE
Q5 – I saw a dog roaming about, it looks too clean to be a stray. What do I do?
A5 – Call animal welfare on 1717. If the dog is friendly enough that it comes up to you and you are not afraid of dogs try and hold the dog until the Animal Welfare Ambulance arrives on site to avoid the dog getting injured. If the dog is not coming up to you or you do not feel comfortable touching the dog, ideally follow the dog so that when the ambulance team call you when they are almost on site you can give them the exact location of where the dog is.
Animal Welfare Malta
The law (*) gives you several options
1. return to owner if known
2. deliver dog to the nearest police station
3. deliver dog to a registered sanctuary, but they are under no legal obligation to take the dog
4. if you wish to keep the dog, take it to the nearest police station to make a report and to check for a chip. After 7 days you can claim ownership
* taken from ELECTRONIC IDENTIFICATION OF DOGS [S.L.437.101]
LEGAL NOTICE 199 of 2011.