The Malta Independent 21 October 2014, Tuesday

Foul smell leads police inspector to animal sanctuary in residence

Malta Independent Monday, 3 March 2014, 18:00 Last update: about 5 months ago

Agostino Borg, 52, of Marsa, this morning was accused before Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras and charged with turning his home into a dog and cat sanctuary, breached public peace and threw litter in the street, while also kept dogs which are a nuisance to his neighbours.

The story was carried exclusively last Friday on The Malta Independent, with 15 of his neighbours saying that Borg ruined their lives and repeatedly bullied them.

Sergeant Christopher Debono told the court that 15 residents lodged a joint formal report to the police which led to Agostino Borg’s arraignment. They told Sergeant Debono they are fighting for their much-deserved peace and quiet. The residents also claim that despite having made several reports, this has failed to make a stop to the hoarding of animals.

Sergeant Debono said in court that the residents of St Francis Street Marsa told him that despite telling Borg to put his act together with a polite way, he never took any notice of them. On the contrary he used to call them names.

Sergeant Debono said that the accused’s neighbours went to speak to him on 6 January this year. The residents even gave him several photos of the garbage the accused allegedly used to throw in the street.

The witness said that he went to see Agostino Borg himself and although he did not know exactly where he lives, he started to hear loud barking from around 80 metres away, and such noise made him find the place much easier. He said that when he arrived in front of his house, the smell was overwhelming.

He could not speak to Agostino Borg in front of his house because it was unbearable, he said. Borg told him that he had some 40 cats and 14 dogs, and he admitted that in the past he had more animals.  Sergeant Borg also said that the barking was so loud that one could not start a conversation.

The first witness was one of the accused’s neighbours, Joseph Zammit, who he couldn’t sleep and to rub salt on to the wound Borg loves to pass nasty comments.  He also said that when the weather is hot and humid, the nasty smell is unbearable and one cannot leave a door or a window open.  He also exhibited a CD of the dogs barking to the court.

Dr Joe Mifsud, who is parte civile in the case, said that he is not going to ask for access to the place where the animals are because of his respect to the court and Magistrate.

Another witness was Marie Rose Bugeja who said that it is not only the smells and barking that she’s fed up coping with, but also the continuous swearing.  She said that Borg lives just a door away from her, and said that the dogs start barking from as early as 5am.  She also stated that when she came out from intensive care at Mater Dei, when the accused saw her, sarcastically he told her, “Ooh, she’s still alive”. 

Another witness was Mary Grace Frendo who also spoke about the continuous swearing of Borg and when he sees her, he usually say – “Oh look the Queen is coming”.

The resident also said, “we are fighting for is our much-deserved peace and quiet, which has not been the case for years, we practically do not sleep at night, the smells emitted are unbearable, and we cannot even watch TV in our own house without having to shut all windows”.

The court ordered the Director of Annimal Welfare to send one of his representatives to inspect the animals. The case continues on 6 May. 

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