We’ve made a number of changes to the MSPCA rehoming centre from 1st May 2017, to benefit the welfare of the animals and in line with progressive animal shelters internationally. When we introduced these changes we received some criticism from those who said that it wouldn’t work, and that we wouldn’t adopt any animals. However – as we predicted, and in line with what happens outside Malta when such changes are introduced, these have already been shown to be working very well indeed – we have increased our rehoming rates by a significant amount compared to the two previous years. Most importantly, our animals are a lot less stressed, and levels of barking and vocalising at the centre have reduced considerably compared to before the changes were made in March 2017.
ADOPTIONS FOR THE WHOLE OF 2015: 66 ANIMALS
ADOPTIONS FOR THE WHOLE OF 2016: 92 ANIMALS
ADOPTIONS FOR 2017: 121 ANIMALS.
Visitors will notice that the MSPCA site is calmer and quieter than previously thanks to several changes already made in the early part of 2017. This has included making our rehoming centre a “Quiet” site by limiting loud conversations and taking noise disturbance away from the kennels. All visitors and guests are asked to respect this.
In the event, we now have a mostly new team and centre management in 2017, with wider experience, qualifications, and a significantly greater understanding of the wider needs of animals and a willingness to moderate and change their behaviours to ensure animals are not scared or stressed. The current team has embraced this change and understands how it benefits the animals. We’ve also introduced full vaccination for all cats (bringing them in line with the care offered to dogs), and weekly healthchecks and weighing of our dogs, and a full paperwork system so that every aspect of animals’ care is noted. All our team attend regular internal training and all permanent rehoming centre staff attend at least one animal welfare event outside Malta every year.
We’ve made the following changes:
- Public opening hours – Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 12noon and 1pm to 5pm – we are open all day on Saturday and Sunday to enable potential animal adopters to visit us at more convenient times when parking near the centre is easy, and we close all day on Monday and Tuesday .
- Kennel and cattery working hours – we now attend to our animals between 8am and 5pm every day. This means that we have standardised the length of their day across the week and allowing them adequate time overnight to rest and sleep (a dog needs 14-16 hours sleep a day and a cat around 16-19). We also give all our dogs and cats an hour’s complete downtime in the middle of the day when they are undisturbed.
- “Match and Meet” – we are limiting access to the kennels and cattery to avoid the stress caused by constant disturbance to the animals by a stream of visitors, which is known to upset dogs and cats greatly and which studies from outside Malta have shown. For those who are genuinely interested in adopting an animal, we’ll first ask you to complete a matching form and we will introduce you to selected animals away from the kennels and cattery, in a quiet adoption area. You can find out more about the reasons behind this here: Access to the kennels and cattery from 1st May . In many cases, we will try and keep animals in their existing home during the process, so they only have one upheaval, rather than needing to come into the rehoming centre. This is called “Home 2 Home”, but unlike the straight matching services carried out by some other NGOs, all animals going through this scheme are still neutered, vaccinated, chipped, vet checked and treated for fleas and worms at the MSPCA’s expense, exactly as if they came into our kennels.
- Fast homevisits – where we need to carry out a homevisit, we will try and do this within 2 days of reserving the animal.
- Our animal keyworker system – every animal admitted to us will have an assigned keyworker who takes additional care of the animal, carrying out extra healthchecks and behavioural work beyond that which we already perform. This keyworker will also follow through the adoption process with adopters and carry out all aftercare, so adopters will generally deal with the same staff member.
- Staff training – utilising the experience of our UK-qualified animal behaviourist and UK-qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse, we are running the MSPCA’s first ever ongoing staff development programme, taking place on days when we are closed, to improve staff knowledge and animal welfare.
- “Capacity for Care” – we manage the intake to ensure that animals are cared for without overcrowding and without increased risk of disease. We are the only centre in Malta currently housing cats in line with their natural needs and behaviours. We schedule intake of animals to ensure that every animal sees a vet just before or on arrival,
- We’re sometimes recruiting for top-notch, forward thinking team players to augment and improve our already fabulous staff team. Visit our jobs pages (About Us)
We hope you enjoy the changes!