Pet dumping on the rise in UAE

Pet dumping on the rise in UAE
Cases of animals being tossed on the streets by their owners have risen dramatically

Abu Dhabi - "Owners are also using social media to advertise and look for people to re-home their pets"

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Tue 2 May 2017, 5:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 2 May 2017, 7:32 PM

Animal welfare groups are raising concerns over the soaring numbers of pet dumping, particularly during UAE's summer season.

Sarita Harding, Volunteer, Animal Action UAE, told Khaleej Times that cases of animals being tossed on the streets by their owners have risen dramatically within the last two years.

"Owners are dumping their pets on the streets, and because these pets are domesticated, they find it hard to survive," said Harding, who moved from the UK to Abu Dhabi and currently takes care of 11 dogs in her house, including five of her own.
She pointed out that residents who travel or leave the UAE for good, often try to avoid paying the costs of boarding, so they simply abandon their pets.

"We usually see a lot of abandoned cats and dogs around July. But this year it's different, because we are already seeing a lot numbers of cases, and it's only May."
"It seems to be getting worse and worse every year."
Harding noted that education and raising awareness is thus key when it comes to curbing the growing numbers of animals abandoned on the streets.
Just last week, a kitten stuck in a highway traffic, was rescued by Civil Defense teams, which caused a traffic standstill in Abu Dhabi.

"Sadly, owners even dump their pets outside the houses of those known within the animal rescue community, or tie them up outside kennels and pet shops."

Harding said that taking care of a dog at a boarding kennel costs up to Dh3,000 a month, a price many residents are not willing to pay.  They would therefore do just about anything to avoid payment- including tying their pets to trees, hoping a passerby would rescue it.

"Owners are also using social media to advertise and look for people to re-home their pets, which ends up removing any potential fosters from welfare organisations."

Maha Mohamed, an Abu Dhabi resident, said she was heartbroken when she saw the numbers of abandoned cats around her residential area.

"At first, I was shocked to see how many cats were roaming around, but then I thought: 'I must do something if I want to make a difference, even if it means helping just one cat'," she said.

"Three years later, I have rescued and adopted two cats and two dogs, who were on the verge of starving to death."

Sarita Harding stressed that those who wish to adopt should first consider fostering for a period of time, to see whether they are fit for the job.

"You must consider the ongoing costs. If owners are relocating or traveling, they need to plan ahead and look at the various options airlines offer."

Since Animal Action UAE is a voluntary group, it relies solely on foster networks and those who have a soft heart for furry friends.

"We mainly deal with rescuing and re-homing."

The organisation, which is currently looking after 90 dogs and cats, receives at least two calls each day reporting pet abandonment.

Haring said the main areas animals are often abandoned in the UAE, are building sites and wastelands.

"Rescue groups don't have the capability to take on all these animals - most of the groups run without a shelter - so we are relying on the compassion of the general public and people coming forward willing to foster them."

"A pet is not a temporary object, you take it on for its life, for sickness and health, good and bad."

"You need to think of the commitment that you'll need to make for the animal, just as you would with a child."

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