A monument to Star, the dog which was buried in a pit and left for dead earlier this year, was inaugurated this morning at St Francis Animal Welfare Centre.

The dog lost its battle for life but its plight ensured that awareness of animal cruelty soared.

The monument was unveiled by Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino at the opening of an Open Day at the centre in Ta'Qali.

Mr Pullicino pointed out that the centre was opened exactly a year ago and had since then treated 14,000 animals. Most of them were taken to the centre at Ta' Qali at night, highlighting the benefits of a 24-hour service.

Mr Pullicino also observed that the animal ambulance, which is also operated on a 24-hour service, was called out a staggering 6,750 in a year.

He said the government's next step in animal welfare is a law to ensure that all dogs are micro-chipped by the end of June next year. He welcomed the fact that 5,500  dogs have already been micro-chipped.

The minister said the governemnt is starting the building of permanent shelters for horses in the Baviera, Marsamxett and St Elmo areas of Valletta and is awaiting permits for shelters in Sliema and Qawra.

The bronze monument, showing Star lying down, is the work in bronze by Gianni Pace.

The Open Day continues up to 5 p.m. A number of animal welfare NGOs have set up stands to promote their exhibits. 

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