Imagine this…. You’ve always loved children, but circumstances to date have left you childless, then one day, you accidentally meet an abandoned child. You take her in, feed her and care for her. She looks like she’s been through hell and back but is bubbly and oh so playful. Overnight you decide that if no one claims her you will adopt her for good.

In the morning you call Child Protective Services, to inform them about this and when they come for the child they explain that you need to wait 7 days for the girl’s parents to claim her, after which you would be able to adopt her. They also offer to take her to a doctor to have her checked out.

Before they leave with your prospective child in hand, you make sure to explain that if nobody claims her you will be adopting the child. You also emphasise that you are willing to foot any medical expenses with immediate effect.  Child Protective Services acknowledge your requests and leave with the child in hand.

Of course there’s no way you can wait the whole seven days to hear back, so after two days you call to check on her. That’s when a lightening bolt hits you straight in the heart, and leaves you utterly speechless – that’s when the person on the other side of the line informs you that the child you were so willing to adopt and take care of, the same child who couldn’t stop playing and jumping around just 72 hours earlier, was found to be in such bad health that she was euthanised!!!!

You might think that this story is fiction, but unfortunately almost all of it, is true; the only fictional part is that it happened to a dog and not a child and that Child Protective Services were Animal Welfare.  To some this will make a whole lot of difference, but I know that to many others, it makes no difference whatsoever.

Ever since the story broke on Facebook and on Net News earlier this week, people from all over Malta have expressed their outrage.  I myself was flabbergasted and disgusted to hear of such an atrocity, and whilst I’m not a vet and I do not pretend to have the slightest idea about dogs’ health, there is no doubt in my head that in such a case, the prospective adoptive parents should have been informed and allowed to make the decision whether to euthanise or not.

From the vet’s report and triage policy, which were finally released by Animal Welfare three weeks later, it seems to me that that vet did not know that the dog had prospective parents and acted according to the triage policy when a dog has ‘no owner’.  This means that somewhere, somehow there was a total lack of communication, which might have cost an innocent’s creature’s life.

Had this been a child and not a dog, all hell would have broken loose. Why is no action being taken? Is this how much we value living, feeling, innocent beings?  Is this how much we value genuine animal lovers who are willing to go out of their way to care for animals?

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