Frequently Asked Questions

Microchipping Section


Q1. Who can own a dog?

A1.  Any person eighteen years old or over and able to take charge of a dog can own a dog. This age restriction does not apply to blind persons.


Q2. By which age should dog be microchipped and licensed?

A2. Any dog at the age of four months or over should be microchipped and licensed. Dogs may be microchipped and licensed before the age of 4 months.


Q3. How does an owner microchip and license a dog?

A3.  The owner should take his dog to a warranted veterinarian for the insertion of a microchip. The veterinarian will then take care of informing the Director Veterinary Regulation with the details of the owner and the details pertaining to the dog including the microchip number. The details will be inserted into the National Livestock Database and a licence will be issued by the Veterinary Regulation Directorate. The registered owner of the dog will then receive the licence by post. 


Q4. What other legal obligations are important with regards to the identification of dogs?

A4.  The owner or keeper of a dog must ensure that the dog wears a tag or a badge bearing the owner’s or keeper’s telephone number and it shall be worn at all times when the dog is in a public place.


Q5. How does a person notify a missing or lost licensed dog?

A5.  The owner or keeper has to notify the Director Veterinary Regulation within forty-eight hours in the case of the loss of a licensed dog. This notification has to be done on a form which may be downloaded from the following link: 

Report of Missing Pet

The notification may be delivered by hand or sent by mail to the following address: 

Microchipping Office,
Small Animal Quarantine,
Luqa Industrial Estate
Luqa,
Malta.

In addition may also file a police report of a missing dog in particular where there is suspicion that the dog may have been stolen.


Q6. How does a person notify the transfer of a microchipped and licensed dog to a new owner?

A6.  The owner or keeper has to notify the Director Veterinary Regulation within 7 calendar days from when a licensed dog is transferred by its owner or keeper. This notification has to be done on a form which may be downloaded from the following link: 

Request for Transfer of Pets


The notification may be delivered by hand or sent by mail to the following address: 

Microchipping Office,
Small Animal Quarantine,
Luqa Industrial Estate​
Luqa,
Malta.


Q7. How does a person notify the death microchipped and licensed dog?

A7.  The owner or keepers have to notify the Director for Veterinary Services within 7 calendar days from when a licensed dog dies. This notification has to be done on a form which may be downloaded from the following link: 

Report of Death of Pets

The notification may be delivered by hand or sent by mail to the following address: 

Microchipping Office,
Small Animal Quarantine,
Luqa Industrial Estate​
Luqa,
Malta.​


Q8. What are the fees applicable for licensing of dogs?

A8.  The fees applicable for the licensing of dogs and bitches is €20 per dog if not neutered or €10 per neutered dog (Schedule A of LN199/2011). The fees for every dog are paid only once and cover a lifetime licence. The prescribed fee covers the cost of the microchip and its insertion and its inclusion in a database and it is paid to the warranted veterinarian following microchipping.


Q9. Are there categories of persons who are exempt from paying the licensing fees?

A9.  Yes, persons who are visually impaired and disabled persons who keep a guide dog or an assistance dog shall be issued with a licence at no cost, regardless of the age restriction of 10years of age for keeping a dog.


Q10. What is the procedure to be followed if a dog is found?

A10. Any person, who takes possession of a stray dog shall: 

  1. If the dog is injured and in physical distress, make the necessary arrangements for it to receive veterinary care; and 
  2. If the dog is not injured – 
    • return the dog to its owner or keeper, if known; or 
    • deliver the dog to the nearest police station and inform the Police officer in charge, of the place where the dog was found; 
    • deliver the dog to a registered sanctuary, where it shall be ascertained whether the dog has been microchipped and, in any case, where the dog shall be retained for at least seven days to allow its owner to claim it back before sheltering or rehoming it; or 
    • if wishing to retain the dog as a new owner, take the dog to the nearest police station to report where the dog was found and ascertain whether the dog has been microchipped and it already has an owner, and, if this is not the case, the provisions of regulation 7 shall apply to such new owner.


Any Police Officer or the Director Veterinary Regulation may seize any stray dog and detain it until its owner or keeper claims it, produces the licence relating to it and pays all expenses incurred by reason of its detention. If the dog is not claimed or the licence relating to such dog is not produced, or is such expenses are not paid within seven days of seizure, the dog may disposed of by the Police.


Q11. What are the fines applicable for non-conformance with the microchipping regulations?

A11. 
  1. Any person in possession of a dog who fails to electronically identify such a dog with the Department in terms of these regulations, or any person or entity submitting incorrect, incomplete or false information in the registration form, shall be liable to a fine (multa) of three hundred euro (€300). 
  2. In the event that an electronically identified dog fails to provide a reading intrascapulae of the said microchip, the owner or any person in possession of the dog is liable to a fine (multa) of five hundred euro (€500), unless it is proved by the owner or person in possession of the dog, that the microchip is still located within some other part of the dog.


Q12. Whom should I contact if I find a stray dog and want to check who the owner or keeper of the dog is?

A12.  If a person finds a stray dog and wants to check its ownership he or she may firstly check if the badge contains the details of the contact number of owner of keeper of the dog and may directly contact the owner or keeper of the dog.  If the dog has no collar badge, one can contact the Animal Welfare Promotion and Services Directorate by dialling the short code 1717 (Animal Welfare helpline - operative 24 hours round the clock, 7 days a week). 

The Animal Welfare Officers shall scan the dog for the microchip and if electronically identified, the Directorate will take care of tracing the ownership of the dog and shall make the necessary arrangements for the return of the dog to it’s owner. It’s important to note that the Animal Welfare Promotion and Services Directorate shall not detain the dog if that dog is not electronically identified; in that case the procedure as per answer to Question 10 above has to be followed.


Poultry & Rabbits


Q1. I would like to keep some rabbits and some chickens for the personal consumption; do I need to register with the Veterinary Regulation Directorate? 

A1. If you keep less than twenty (20) chickens or less than fifty (50) does, you do not need to be registered with the Veterinary Regulation Directorate.  


Prophylaxis


Q1. Why do you have to come on my farm to take blood samples?

A1. Testing of livestock is the first measure of prophylaxis that involves disease prevention rather than cure. Taking blood from ruminants on farm is part of the surveillance programme with the aim to ensure that your farm is free from disease. This system will ultimately avoid the spreading of potential diseases to other farms.


Q2. How many times a year do you have to visit my farm?

A2. The frequency of sampling depends on the surveillance programme in question but usually it is carried out every six months.


Q3. Do I have to slaughter an animal tested positive after blood sampling?

A3. Not always; however for some diseases this measure is necessary. Some diseases are transmitted also to humans hence it is in your best interest to avoid the transmission of disease among livestock in your farm, to other farms and potentially to yourself and your family.


Q4. Will I be compensated if I am forced to slaughter an animal?

A4. In some cases, the farmer is compensated.


Q5. How will I know the result of the test?

A5. You will receive the result of the test by post.


Traditional Dairy Unit (Ġbejniet)


Q1. What should one do to start producing ġbejniet to be consumed by the owner and direct family?

A1. 
  1. All farm holdings producing milk have to be registered with the Department before they start keeping animals.
  2. All male and female animals of the species producing milk on the farm holding shall originate from other registered holdings and transferred after written consent by the Director (Department officials). They shall be identified and registered on the farm register and with the Department in accordance to the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No. 21/2004 on the Identification and Registration of Ovine and Caprine Animals, CAP. 36 on the Prevention of Disease Ordinance, S.L. 36.32 on Milch Animals Regulations, CAP. 437 of the Veterinary Services Act and S.L. 437.78 on the Identification and Registration of Animals Rules.
  3. The animals referred to above shall be tested regularly for any diseases which may be identified in all relevant Regulations, as well as for any other disease as may be determined by the Director from time to time. The owner has to be available for visits from VRD (Veterinary Regulation Directorate) officers for sampling and inspection.
  4. (Dairy or traditional dairy products may be produced on a farm holding or in related premises outside the rules set by Council Regulations (EC) Nos. 852/2004, 853/2004 and 854/2004 and the provisions of these rules if they are going to be consumed by the owner of the animals or his direct family. Such a production can only take place under these conditions on farm holdings where there are no more than four (4) sheep or goats registered on the farm holding.


Q2. What should one do if they intend to produce ġbejniet and place them on the market?

A2. 
  1. All farm holdings producing milk shall be registered with the Department before they start keeping animals.
  2. All male and female animals of the species producing milk on the farm holding shall originate from other registered holdings and transferred after written consent by the Director (Department officials). They shall be identified and registered on the farm register and with the Department in accordance to the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No. 21/2004 on the Identification and Registration of Ovine and Caprine Animals, CAP. 36 Prevention of Disease Ordinance, S.L. 36.32 on Milch Animals Regulations, CAP. 437 of the Veterinary Services Act and S.L. 437.78 on the Identification and Registration of Animals Rules.
  3. The animals referred to above shall be tested regularly for any diseases which may be identified in all relevant Regulations, as well as for any other disease as may be determined by the Director from time to time. The owner has to be available for visits from VRD (Veterinary Regulation Directorate) officers for sampling and inspection also at short notice.
  4. Farms having more than four (4) registered sheep or goats on the holdings need an approval to produce and place on the market ġbejna. They shall satisfy the requirements of Council Regulations (EC) Nos. 852/2004 and 853/2004.
  5. The production of dairy products and traditional dairy products cannot be placed on the market, be sold in wholesale or retail or directly to the final consumer over the farm gate or from any related premises or from any other place unless they are products originating from establishments which conform to the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 and that have been approved and registered by VRD at Dairy Establishments.


Q3. What are the requirements to register a farm?

A3. If a person decides to keep up to four (4) small ruminants, the applicant must apply for permission/registration number. The applicant must fill in an official application and includes:
  • 2 photos of the place/room where the owner is going to keep the small ruminants.
  • A site-map of the nearby area.


Then, the application is checked by the Officer in charge and an onsite inspection is carried out:
  • If it is compliant, the applicant will be registered in the National Livestock Database as a new Ruminant breeder with the Directorate.
  • A letter of confirmation is sent to the applicant in which is also given a registration number as a means of ID with the Directorate and this is used for trading animals (as per Annex 2).
  • A list of guidelines regarding the up-keeping of the animals is also sent with the confirmation letter (as per Annex 3).
  • If the application is not accepted, the officer in charge will call the applicant and will contact the applicant to bring other documents if needed so as to be accepted. Otherwise, a letter will be sent, stating that the application cannot be accepted.


If a person decides to keep more than four (4) small ruminants on the farm, they must have all MEPA building permits where to keep animals. They must also have a manure clamp and a cesspit.

If the applicant is already in possession of MEPA permits, a site-plan and other related MEPA documentations must be presented to the Officials in order to proceed as in subparagraph (ii).


Q4. What are the requirements to register a dairy establishment?

A4.  The applicant must be in possession of appropriate MEPA building permits for Dairy Establishments. Furthermore, an application can be filled accordingly and presented to Officials for further consultations.


Q5. What are the requirements for the placing on the market of ġbejniet?

A5. Dairy products and traditional dairy products (ġbejniet) that are produced with the intention of being placed on the market in and outside Malta shall only be produced in establishments which have obtained the necessary approval from the Director, and shall be marked with an identification mark in accordance with the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004. 

The production of dairy products and traditional dairy products (ġbejniet) cannot be placed on the market, be sold in wholesale or retail or directly to the final consumer over the farm gate or from any related premises or from any other place unless they are products originating from establishments as described above.


Q6. Can raw milk or raw cream be sold directly to the final consumer? Why?

A6. The placing on the market and donation or transfer within the territory of Malta of raw milk or raw cream intended for direct human consumption is prohibited.

Due to health reasons, milk has to be industrially pasteurised in order to ensure that the milk and cream being consumed does not impose any health risks.


Q7A. What has to be done to produce a new dairy product?
       
A7A. 
Structural Requirements and Analytical Checks for Modified Approvals of Traditional Dairy Products Only:
  • More simplified changing rooms not necessarily attached to specific areas and for separate sexes.
  • Time area management of production areas in exchange with packing, storage or dispatch areas is possible.
  • Entry of raw materials, additives, packing materials and exit of finished product may be established through a single entry/exit with flexibility as long as the system used avoids cross-contamination.
  • Simplified HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) accepted.
  • Checks for Total Bacterial Count on raw milk as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 in Annex III, Section IX, Chapter I, Part III, paragraph 2 shall be carried out before raw milk is to be used for production. The number of micro-organisms as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 in Annex III, Section IX, Chapter I, Part III, paragraph 3 shall be set on a basis of the result of a test on an individual sample of raw milk twice a month.
  • Batch testing of product and shelf-life evaluation applied with flexibility.

Dairies producing traditional and other dairy products shall follow a full approval in line with Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004.


Q7B. Which dairy products can be produced?​

A7B. 
Structural Requirements and Analytical Checks for Full Approvals of Traditional Dairy Products and other Dairy Products:
  • 3 area sanitary locks for entry of personnel separate for the different areas and frequently for different sexes of employees.
  • Areas have to be identifiable, separate and dedicated.
  • Entries of raw materials, additives, packing materials and exit of finished product have to be separate and identifiable.
  • Full HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) has to be in place.
  • Checks for Total Bacterial Count on raw milk as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 in Annex III, Section IX, Chapter I, Part III, paragraph 2 shall be carried out before raw milk is to be used for production. The number of micro-organisms as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 in Annex III, Section IX, Chapter I, Part III, paragraph 3 shall be set on a basis of the result of a test on an individual sample of raw milk twice a month.
  • Batch testing of product and shelf-life evaluation shall be carried out in accordance with microbiological criteria as referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005.