Animals rescued after landlord cements front door of couple’s home

Animals rescued after landlord cements front door of couple's home

Animals trapped behind a cemented door which has seen their owners locked out of home have been rescued and rehomed.

The couple were locked out of their home in Siġġiewi on September 14 after their landlord sealed the front door with bricks and cement following a rent dispute.

Earlier that day, Jan Gerber and his girlfriend, Claire Tyler had received an image from their landlord showing their front door lock sealed with an adhesive paste along with a text which read: “The game is over”.

After leaving work and returning to their home to check on their animals, they found the front door completely covered with concrete.

Their dog along with a cat, two rabbits, six chickens and goldfish were trapped inside, prompting the couple to contact Animal Welfare. But the public service told them that they were unable to act without instructions from the police.

At the time, Gerber and Tyler were able to rescue their dog and cat after clambering in through a kitchen window. The other animals were, however, left at the property.

On Friday, Real Animal Rights Foundation (RAR) activist Romina Frendo said that all of the animals were rescued from the property on Wednesday following an inspection by the Environmental Protection Unit and the Animal Welfare Department.

They have since been rehomed with the owners’ consent.

On Tuesday, Gerber and Tyler told Times of Malta that the incident has led them to plan their future away from Malta.

“I think I’ll be flying to Germany [with] my girlfriend this weekend because we can’t take this anymore,” German national Jan Gerber said.

On Monday, they took their dog and cat to the vet to be vaccinated in preparation for their flight.

Despite the couple being forced out of their home without a three-month notice, which is a legal requirement, police considered the matter to be of a civil nature and refused to take action, they said.

According to messages seen by Times of Malta last week, the landlord claims the pair owe him more than €3,000 in underpaid rent and unpaid electricity bills – an amount the couple contest.

They say €1,300 was for rent and electricity payments for September which the landlord requested early, with a further €400 in withheld rent and the rest attributed to a disputed amount from last year. 

The couple say the landlord cut off their water and electricity earlier this month after demanding the keys back on August 31.

Gerber and Tyler had been living in the property for three years and estimate it would take two days to move out fully.

Since the forced eviction, the couple have been offered free accommodation.

Animals rescued after landlord cements front door of couple’s home

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