The wild cat, a puma, which on Thursday sparked outrage on social media, has been on a residential roof in Fgura for at least two years, a neighbour told The Malta Independent.
When asked if he has ever heard her cry, he said that every morning at sunrise the puma lets out a high-pitched, sharp noise, but immediately clarified it was not a cry of distress but a sound made by the animal.
It appears, however, that once the puma lets out this cry it sets off the dogs in the area, creating commotion in the early morning.
The neighbour confirmed the puma looks well-kept and healthy. He also said that it was never aggressive, as far as he knows. The cage, in which the puma is kept, appears to be secure.
He also said that he has never seen the puma’s owner take it out or approach it.
The footage was initially posted on Facebook by an individual and can be viewed the Animal Liberation Malta Facebook page. The video shows the black feline pacing in the enclosure.
It also transpired that the animal is registered with the authorities, a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry confirmed, saying that the requirements laid down by regulations are met.
In 2016, a law was established for owning and keeping dangerous animals. The puma is one of the animals listed as “dangerous”.
The law states that dangerous animals can only kept in a licensed zoo. The same law, however, notes that such an animal can be kept “on a site as long as the provision laid down in these regulations are observed.”
The regulations include, but are not limited to, submitting of a form which has to include non-reversible means of identification of the dangerous animal, proof of the appropriateness of the site and enclosure and the measures to be taken to secure the safety and well-being of the dangerous animal and the general public.
Comments on social media ranged from people who expressed awe and fear, to others who expressed immense anger saying that such animals should never be kept in captivity, in confined spaces.
Animal activist, Moira Delia, in a post on Facebook said that the puma is pacing in a figure of eight motion, which indicates that the animal is in distress, is depressed, sad and mentally destroyed.