Updated at 3.25pm with PN reaction

It is now illegal to chain dogs, after years of lobbying by NGOs and a bill on the issue being published over two years ago.

The subsidiary legislation to the Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to chain or allow dogs to have inadequate collars.

"No individual can keep a dog tethered, or cause a dog to be tethered, fastened, chained or restrained to a stationary object as a primary method of confinement," the legislation notes.

In fact, leashes will only be allowed while walking a dog or during veterinary procedures and enforcement.

Read: Would you adopt an abandoned dog?

New enclosure specifications have also been included, so that owners will be fined if the dog is found in a space too small for its size.

Thousands of reports on animal cruelty are received each year, with reports spiking during the summer. Animal welfare inspectors told Times of Malta dogs chained to balconies during the summer often die or become seriously sick when they spend hours outside exposed to the sun.

In 2016, a pure breed dog was found in the street with a chain embedded in its neck, causing outrage and leading many to demand change in legislation.

PN welcomes 'good news'

The PN welcomed the move, saying that the legal changes presented by the government were in the most part identical to a private member’s bill put forward by PN MP Mario Galea back in 2016.

Back then, the government had ignored the bill, Mr Galea said in a statement. He noted that the legislation passed made no mention of electric shock collars, as his 2016 bill had.

“Even if late, we welcome the decision to take measures to ensure no dog can be permanently tied up,” he said.

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