A wild cat spotted pacing nervously on a roof is registered with the authorities, despite outrage by the public after footage emerged online.
The puma, allegedly kept on a roof in Fgura has a shelter and is well fed, even if neighbours said they can hear its continuous cries.
The individual who initially uploaded the video of Facebook has pulled down her profile following a backlash with the owner. The video is available on the Animal Liberation Malta page.
The police were informed about the footage.
A spokesperson for the Environment Ministry said the animal is registered with the authorities and meets the requirements laid down by regulations.
Until 2014, Malta did not have any legal definition of ‘dangerous animals’. A person could bring any animal to Malta if they had all veterinary and traces certificates, documentation, health and movement notifications and sometimes even passports.
The Animal Welfare Council started discussing regulation of exotic animals in 2010, but it was only in 2016 that subsidiary legislation on owning and keeping dangerous animals was adopted.
According to the law, dangerous animals can only be kept in a licensed zoo unless permission is granted by the director of veterinary services for them to be kept in adequate enclosures.
Bobcats, caracals, cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, lynxes, ocelots, pumas, servals and tigers are included in the dangerous animals’ list.
When contacted, Animal Welfare Commissioner Denis Montebello said that he was following Thursday’s case.
In 2017, former Animal Welfare commissioner Emanuel Buhagiar said he was against keeping large animals in Malta.
He said he did not believe the minimum standards for enclosures should be left to EU member states but that they should be regulated by the European Commission.
Malta’s specifications for enclosure sizes are in line with those of the Swiss Ordinance, which he viewed as inadequate for large animals.
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