The Mediterranean archipelago wants to create a compulsory register for local pet professionals to achieve a “quality mark for service excellence.”
Malta’s Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights has recently published a White Paper to propose a new set of rules to establish standards for breeders, trainers, groomers and pet sitters operating on the island.
Pet boarding establishments are already regulated through national legislation, but this is not the case for pet sitting.
“Since pet boarding and pet sitting are a growing industry in Malta, the accommodation and pet sitting services need to be regulated in order to make sure that pet animals are being taken care of in accordance with the law, to ensure that welfare of the animals is safeguarded,” says the government.
Officials in the country believe that there is a need for stricter regulations for employees in the pet sector at the same time that animal welfare standards are introduced.
According to the White Paper accessed by GlobalPETS, all pet sitters operating on the island will be required to be registered with the Animal Welfare Directorate.
Furthermore, pet-sitting accommodations will need to have “minimum relevant qualifications with at least one person from the personnel holding a certificate in Animal First Aid including a clean conduct with regards to animal cruelty.”
Establishments and accommodations must comply with construction standards, size, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness. The White Paper also details that they will be subject to inspections carried out by the Directorate to ensure compliance.
Other details in the proposal cover the regulation of the size of enclosures, preventing escape, preventing the outbreak of disease, and how regularly animals should be checked on by their sitter.
The facilities must also have “an appropriate animal health control program based on the activities carried out in order to guarantee the wellbeing of animals using the facilities.”
The Maltese government has proposed a set of requirements that each person who operates a pet grooming establishment needs to comply with to “offer a quality service.”
Among the requirements, it will be mandatory for individuals who offer grooming services to be registered with the authorities. Every groomer will need to be in possession of a license issued by the Veterinary Surgeon’s Council.
The White Paper reads that groomers “will be required to keep appropriate records related to all animals groomed as well as to all treatments carried out.”
All pet grooming establishments in Malta will also be required to be registered with the government, and only licensed groomers will be able to operate businesses.
Maltese breeders will be required to register if they intend to breed more than one litter in any two consecutive years. The new proposal also prohibits the breeding of animals under the age of 18 months or non-pure breed dogs by artificial insemination.
It also imposes that puppies must not be weaned from their mother before they are 8 weeks old.
The government also intends to make it obligatory for breeders to microchip animals between 6–8 weeks from the date of birth. In addition, all dogs that are adopted must be registered in the name of the new owner within 7 days of the adoption.
The Ministry has been consulting with stakeholders, including the Animal Welfare Commissioner, Animal Welfare Council, operators through the Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), dog breeders, and kennel clubs.
Now, the public has until 6 November to submit their opinions.
If this set of regulations becomes law, the government will establish a transitional period of 1 year for pet professionals and establishments to adapt to the new requirements.
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