'Police action on cats' death would send strong message'
Abu Dhabi - Animal welfare activists in the UAE took to social media to condemn the horrific act, which happened last week in Abu Dhabi.
Less than two weeks after the UAE announced the legal punishments for animal cruelty, the Abu Dhabi Police have begun investigating a case of three kittens and a cat that were hurled to death from a building in the emirate.
Animal welfare activists in the UAE took to social media to condemn the horrific act, which happened last week in the Capital. According to reports, the Abu Dhabi Police are now following up on the case after Yanni Animal Welfare Group filed an official complaint.
"(We) must introduce compulsory education in schools on how to treat animals because in some families, mistreating an animal is a normal standard. Kids copy what they see," one Facebook user posted, after hearing of the tragic news.
The incident came just days after the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) issued new legislation to criminalise pet abandonment in the UAE - an issue often brought to light by animal activists on social media.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Sarita Harding, a volunteer at Animal Action UAE, said that though nothing can be done to bring back the innocent cats that lost their lives, strict police action will convey a powerful message towards animal rights.
"This incident is being taken seriously. It's a sad reality that things like this happen, but with (the police) investigating it and stricter laws being introduced regarding animal abuse, it is a great push for the safeguarding of animal welfare.
"Let's not be naïve here, animal abuse goes on all across the world. New laws and the following up of those laws in terms of police involvement are encouraging in the fight against animal cruelty in the UAE."
For Maryam Amar, volunteer at Little Angels Animal Rescue, new legislations are "great". "The evidence that authorities are stepping in - especially in heinous cases like this - will be the wake-up call people need.
"That's what will bring about the change. This incident was a huge shock to many, but it is common for rescuers like us. Animals are being treated like trash and it must stop. This happened only a few days after the new rule on pet abandonment came out, so this is a very good chance now (for the police) to investigate and find the person who has done such a terrible act. These animals deserve justice," she told Khaleej Times.
According to reports, a woman, who saw the cats on the street, said the cats' owner, an Arab man, discovered that his son had thrown the cats from their balcony. Comments on social media suggested that the boy was autistic, but this detail has not been confirmed by the police.
Back in 2017, an Emirati man was arrested by the Dubai Police after a video he uploaded online went viral, showing disturbing images of a live cat being fed to a dog. In light of the incident and in his efforts to enforce community service as a means of constructive punishment, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, ordered the offenders to clean the facilities of the old Dubai Zoo for three months.
Resolution on animal care in the UAE
On November 11, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced the issuance of Ministerial Resolution No. 476 of 2018 concerning the executive regulation of Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 on animal care and its amending Federal Law No. 18 of 2016. The announcement was made at the second UAE National Conference on Animal Welfare.
"The UAE's commitment towards ensuring animal welfare stems from cultural and environmental factors and is in line with our Islamic teachings. I am pleased to share that we are currently in the process of devising the National Animal Welfare Plan that is expected to be implemented in Q1 2019. The plan will unite efforts exerted by the private and public sectors and individuals to raise awareness of the matter and ensure the firm implementation of laws," Dr Al Zeyoudi had said during the conference.