If we had €1,000 for every time we were told that the MSPCA houses fewer animals than your average hoarder, we probably wouldn’t need to fundraise as much to build our new center. The very suggestion that we should somehow be in a competition with hoarders for how many animals we house is incompatible with our most important priority; animal welfare. We like to think that besides the animals we house in our shelter we are also having a positive impact on the animals in the wider community. Of course, there are always the naysayers who will take any opportunity to spread their black veil of negativity.
The most recent one being an expedient (not) busy body who claimed the cats in our 16,000 dogs neutered feature on the Times of Malta on Friday 27th April weren’t really at the MPSCA because they know the cats from elsewhere and also questioned how many animals the charity houses to necessitate the appointment of a COO.
You can imagine our laugh-out-loud reaction since the photos on the featured article were taken in person by the Times of Malta photographers at our center in Floriana just the day before. We must laugh because if we give in to the alternative we wouldn’t be here to help animals much longer. However, we do understand that comments like that can be damaging and make people doubt us so here is a morning wasted writing our honest and transparent reply because, unlike people with a grudge or hidden agenda, we have nothing to hide.
Just like all other animals that enter the MSPCA, those cats were indeed elsewhere, before we took them in. Since all our animals are neutered it’s kind of a given that we got them from elsewhere; from homes where they were ill cared for or unwanted or from farms or the street or people in social or medical difficulties. In this case the Times of Malta photographer can attest to the cats being right here but we do our best to find a new home for the animals on our waiting list too, so they never have to undergo the stress of living in an animal shelter.
Contrary to popular local believe, you do not love animals more because you house more of them. In fact, it is quite the contrary. In a nutshell crowding increases stress, decreases immune resistance and facilitates the spread of disease making it the ideal environment for viral outbreaks to attack the health of the entire shelter population, especially the most vulnerable; old or young. Being obliged to provide protection from pain, injury, and disease we take every measure to do so, including housing them in a low stress environment. If you want to know how exactly we suggest you read About Our Rehoming Center but if you guessed one of them is by keeping our number of residents lower, you guessed correctly.
The great thing though is that rehoming rates improve when you have fewer animals. We won’t go into why here because it is complicated combination of marketing psychology and logistics, but the result is that despite housing fewer animals, we still help more than before because they leave sooner to good new homes after being properly vetted and matched, without the need to send them overseas. This keeps our running costs low without compromising on care. We cannot find fault with doing more, better, while spending less. Can you?
Since we do aim to build a new rehoming center, so we can relocate to it, and have a number of other ongoing projects, the number of staff and volunteers we have, and their roles is not dictated purely by the number of animals we house. Our readers might find it encouraging to know that we are the only charity in Malta which offers unlimited subsidized neutering of dogs at higher risk of producing unplanned litters. We also run a year-round education program and are continuously involved in lobbying and research to improve animal welfare legislation as well as our understanding of animal welfare. All that needs fundraisers too, so the team of staff and volunteers is even bigger than one might think is necessary to run a shelter BECAUSE WE ARE NOT JUST A SHELTER.
It would be incredibly sad and unjust that some persons’ hidden agenda were to slow us down without so much as a valid reason.But as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.