The cash collected last year following the horrific discovery of the frightened crossbreed dog Star who was shot and buried alive for 14 hours, was donated to nine animal sanctuaries.

The Star Fund was set up in May as a rapid response account after photographs of Star’s nose peeping through the soil touched the hearts of animal lovers across the country.

A total of €8,200 was raised as a reward to anyone coming forward with information leading to the conviction of whoever committed the “horrific act” against the loving animal.

Star, named by the animal welfare officers who rescued it, was taken to the animal hospital where over 40 lead pellets were removed from his head.

He succumbed to its injuries on June 6, the day after hundreds of people turned up in Sliema for the biggest protest against animal cruelty ever held in Malta.

On June 21, 44-year-old Alfred Vella was found guilty of “exaggerated” animal cruelty and manufacturing a shotgun and was sentenced for three months jail but he is on bail pending an appeal.

Since nobody came forward with information, the money of the fund was this week distributed to nine sanctuaries: AAA Sanctuary, Island Sanctuary, Noah’s Ark, SPCA Malta, SPCA Gozo, Happy Paws, Toma­sina Cat Sanctuary, SASG and Francis Napier.

Apart from raising money to apprehend the cruel perpetrator, the people behind the initiative – Roberto Calleia, Stefan Camilleri, Hermann Bonaci and Moira Delia – also wanted to send out the message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.