An arrest has been made in the case of Star, a dog shot, buried alive and left for dead in a shallow grave in Malta.
Alfred Vella, 44, a farmer from Birzebbuga, admitted in court today that he shot Star because she was old. A previous owner of the dog had given her to Vella recently because ‘she was shedding too much’. Vella admitted to shooting the dog with a homemade gun before burying her in the field where she was eventually found.
Defense counsel Peter Paul Zammit said the court needed to impose a severe penalty in order to send a message to potential abusers. “We are in the 21st century and justice needs to be done,” he said.
Vella faces a potential sentence of up to five years if found guilty. Sentencing is scheduled for this afternoon.
Star was just that – and as an inspiration to thousands who cheered her recovery, news of her death came as a serious blow to her supporters, who had spent weeks watching and hoping for a happy ending as she battled her way back from one of the worst cases of animal abuse imaginable. Her story took a heartbreaking turn when a bout of vomiting necessitated an emergency vet trip: Star succumbed to pancreatitis just hours later, on June 6th.