Animal lovers will soon have the option of a more dignified farewell for their deceased pets after the Island Sanctuary announced it had acquired the permits needed to offer a cremation service.

The Marsaxlokk shelter is now appealing to the public for help in raising funds for a new €24,000 incinerator, which has already been ordered and should be in place in the coming months.

“This is a service that we have always believed people who love animals deserved,” Sylvia Zammit from the Island Sanctuary told the Times of Malta.

“Pets are part of the family and they should be given a decent burial. Otherwise there’s no closure. Right now there’s no way to provide that.”

The only options currently available to pet owners are the government incinerator in Marsa (where pets left at vet clinics are sent) or burial on private land for animals up to 10 kilograms.

€24,000 incinerator should be in place in the coming months

Government plans for a ‘pet cemetery’ in Ta’ Qali – which would include an incinerator and 11,000 compartments for urns containing pets’ ashes – were approved in 2015 but have not yet materialised.

The Island Sanctuary’s own incinerator plans have been in place for around a year and were recently granted the necessary permits.

The animal shelter plans to make the cremation service available to the public at a small fee to cover running costs, and owners will be able to keep their pets’ ashes if they choose to.

Ms Zammit said the sanctuary, which relies on public donations and volunteers for its operations, had received positive feedback since announcing the project.

Island Sanctuary was also confident that people would be willing to pitch in to support it, she added.

The sanctuary has pledged to keep all donations for the incinerator separate from those received for the regular upkeep of stray and abandoned dogs. Donations can be made through www.islandsanctuary. or by SMS to 5061 7368 (€2.33), 5061 8082 (€4.66), 5061 8935 (€6.99).

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