The courts should be given the elbowroom to ban people guilty of animal cruelty from owning pets, Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina said on Tuesday.

Her call for a change in the law came a day after a man who threw his pet dog to its death was handed a suspended jail term. The court established that the 50-year old was under the influence of anti-depressants and alcohol when the incident took place. The court also explained that it could not ban the man from owning another dog or pet in the future, because he was charged under the Animal Welfare Act, which did not make provision for such a ban.

“My recommendations is that the law should be changed in a way that gives the court a wider opportunity to impose a ban on animal ownership wherever cruelty, abuse or neglect of animals is involved,” Bezzina said in a letter to Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo, who is also responsible for animal welfare.  (see pdf link below)

She suggested that when such a ban is imposed, those in the household of the person involved should not be allowed to own animals either.

In a tweet, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said he agreed with Bezzina's recommendation. 



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