The Malta Independent 16 July 2020, Thursday

Number of stray dogs might increase as country goes back to normality – Noah’s Ark Sanctuary

Shona Berger Monday, 25 May 2020, 08:54 Last update: about 3 months ago

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, Malta has not yet experienced an increase of stray dogs in our streets, Richard Attard Montalto who looks after stray dogs at Noah’s Ark Sanctuary, told The Malta Independent.

When Coronavirus reached Malta in early March, many people started to spend most of their time at home and there were recommendations, particularly for elderly and vulnerable people, to go out only if absolutely necessary.


Attard Montalto said that “due to boredom some people might have shown an interest in adopting a dog in order to have something to do during their time at home.”

He believes that “it is too early to tell whether there has been an increase of stray dogs or not due to the Coronavirus. At this stage the country and its people have not completely gone back to normality, and some are still spending most of their time at home.”

Photos/video: Alenka Falzon

The increase in stray dogs might arise once everyone goes back to normality.

“For instance people who adopted a dog but usually work 12 hour shifts a day, once they go back to their usual busy routine they won’t spend the same amount of time at home with the adopted dog as they did during quarantine. Thus, this might lead to a number of people no longer having time for the dog,” Attard Montalto said.

He added that “a dog cannot be left alone for such a long period of time as this will only cause problems.”

The adoption process at the sanctuary aims to ensure that adopted dogs are being given to people who actually are interested in adopting and keeping the dog in the long run, rather than adopting out of boredom.

When someone is interested in adopting a dog “the first thing we do is learn about the life of the adopter, not the life during quarantine but the normal life without Coronavirus. We make sure that anyone who is currently interested in adopting a dog understands that even if at present they are constantly at home, they need to make sure that the dog is left alone for some time every day because otherwise they will get used to the constant company of their owner and will suffer from separation anxiety in the future once everything goes back to normal,” Attard Montalto said. This also very much depends on what type of dog one would be adopting – puppy or older dog. 

Asked on how the Coronavirus made an impact on Noah’s Ark Sanctuary, Attard Montalto explained that “the sanctuary is currently closed to visitors and it is only accepting people by appointment who are interested in adopting only.” He added that “such circumstances have also affected donations as they have decreased, and this is one of the problems we are facing.”

If anyone is interested to help Noah’s Ark Sanctuary and its dogs, one can donate through their website: as every little bit helps.

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