Animal abuse In The UAE: Everything you need to know

Animal cruelty typically falls into two categories which are: neglect or intentional cruelty.

Neglect is considered as the failure to give sufficient water, food, shelter or care. Examples of neglect on animals are: starvation, dehydration, failure to seek medical care when an animal is in need of it, unsanitary conditions and so on.

Intentional cruelty is more appalling than neglect and is commonly an indicator of merciless and inhuman behavior. It’s when a human purposely intends to inflict harm or injure an animal.

A step forward in helping these animals is to create positive change for them which begins by being aware of the cruelty that threatens them. We’ve asked Evelyn Priess from The Emirates Animal Welfare Society a few questions on Animal Cruelty in the UAE and what to do in certain situations where an animal is being harmed or left unattended to:

If someone sees an animal being cruelly treated, what is the best way they can stop it?

It depends where the animal cruelty is happening, due to the privacy law, if someone is abusing the animal on his own plot, no private individual has the right to interfere but can call the respective authorities as well as our Society. As long as video or photos of the incident are only given to the authorities, they can be done as evidence. If the abuse is happening on a public ground, every person has the right to interfere and stop the cruelty, with the utmost care and without putting himself into an immeasurable risk.

If someone comes across a pet that was cruelly treated who should they turn to help save it?

It’s either the respective Municipality of the emirate, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment or our Society that can be informed to help.

What can one do if they see a sick stray animal?

With finding out if the animal is approachable the person can simply pick up the animal and bring it to a vet, or inform the society and respective rescue groups on the spot. It’s not appropriate to take a photo, post it on social media and leave the scene as it can happen that the animal cannot be found later on. Rather stay, and try to inform people that can help, share the location and wait till help arrives. No one should forget that he or she might be the last person to see this animal alive and he or she could be the last chance for this animal to find much-needed help.

Where can you anonymously report cases of animal cruelty? Should you report any suspicions of animal cruelty even if you don’t have proof?

Yes in any case report any assumption in this direction. Where there is smoke there might be a fire! It’s usually the Municipality, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment or our Society that can be informed. In all cases, the person that is reporting stays anonymous.

What are the laws governing animal abuse in the UAE?

Federal Law Number 16 from 2007 and its amendment Number 18 from 2016.

Learn more about the new pets laws in the UAE here.

What are some of the myths around stray cats and what should people do if they come across one?

I am not aware of any myths around stray cats. As in every country, they appear and reproduce because people do not neuter. Either because they think cats should build a family, or they refuse for religious reasons or the cat runs away before it could be done. Additionally, the amount of cats is increasing as TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) is not yet fully established in the country and at the same time breeding, trading and dumping are increasing significantly.

There have been quite a few cases on animal cruelty within UAE in recent years. Can you mention one which you may have come across recently and how this case was dealt with? Was a fine given?

The most recent case we as a society have been confronted with is the animal hoarding case in Abu Dhabi. Hoarding is animal cruelty because the hoarder is not realizing that confining these animals in rooms with a fence on the windows is similar to imprisoning them. The rejection to give them medical attention, neutering them or feeding them properly is making these animals to prisoners inside of the hoarders home often forced to reproduce to sell or because no one is stopping the natural mating within a large number of animals in the same room/flat or villa. Hoarding is always ending in a disaster for these animals and the entire cruelty done to animals is covered by the respective animal welfare laws that are granting medical attention, food, water, shelter and free movement to any animal in the country.

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