Man fined €25,000 for animal cruelty

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A 41-year-old man was given a suspended sentence and a €25,000 fine after he was found guilty over charges of animal cruelty and resisting public officers who were performing their duties.

Animal welfare inspectors had found emaciated animals in a state of disaster at David Pace’s farm located in the limits of Mosta in December 2017. The Lands Authority had issued an eviction order.

Animals found at the farm include 16 horses, all skin and bone, 15 dogs, leashed on short chains, and other livestock, including turkeys, rabbits, chickens and pigs, which were all being illegally kept at the farm.

The overall conditions of the animals was observed deteriorating during two inspections carried out by the authorities over a five-month span.

On the day of the incident, while the eviction operation was taking place, the man acted aggressively.

Criminal charges were pressed againt the man who later testified that he had seen his father being manhandled by police officers upon his arrival at the farm.

The claim was however not corroborated by the testimonies given in court by Animal Welfare and Lands Department officials who had said that the accused’s father had not been manhandled. The Court observed that the accused’s version was hard to believe.

In court, it transpired that the animals were found in a “very bad” physical state from the testimony of vets and animal welfare officers in court.

In a court presided over by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, the court noted that the accused was not a first-time offender, further the illegality had taken place over a period of time and a considerable number of animals involved.

The man was condemned to a two-year jail term suspended for four years and a €25,000. The man was banned from holding a dog licence for 15 years, also ordering all animals to be taken into custody by the Animal Welfare Department.

Inspector Nicholas Vella and Colin Sheldon led the prosecution.