DUBAI // Complaints about dog owners who fail to clean up after their pets, and children being "intimidated" by canines off their leads, have prompted the developer of two residential communities to consider establishing pet-free zones.
Residents in The Greens and The Views apartment complexes have received a circular from Emaar Properties following complaints about inconsiderate pet owners. The circular said that the developer might establish areas in or around the buildings where pets would not be allowed.
"While we appreciate that many pet owners ensure their pets are controlled with leashes, this rule is often ignored by some allowing the pets to sometimes run free in the common areas," said Ahmad Al Falasi, Emaar's executive director for property management. "We trust pet owners understand that it is natural for many residents, including the elderly, women and especially children, to get intimidated."
Mr Al Falasi also said that pet owners were failing to clean up after their pets. "This causes an unclean and unhealthy environment, especially for children."
Residents were warned that dog faeces could contain round worm eggs which, if picked up by children, could cause stomach upsets, sore throats, asthma and - in rare cases - blindness.
People living in the area were advised to contact Dubai Municipality if they had seen abandoned animals or had been disturbed or attacked by a neighbour's pet. Following a complaint, a municipality inspector will visit the apartment. Pet owners face disciplinary action if they continue to ignore the rules.
One resident of The Greens said action had to be taken. "I don't have a problem with dog owners but they should respect other people in the community," he said. "We all want to live in a clean area, and for that to happen everyone has to be responsible," said the Egyptian national, who has lived in the area for a year.
Emaar Properties said all residents and pet owners were expected to uphold community rules been agreed upon with the owners associations.
"Emaar Community Management has been undertaking a survey among residents in some of our communities to appraise their views on a pet-free zone, following concerns raised by homeowners at recent Interim Board meetings of Owners Associations. A few areas have been shortlisted and an appropriate decision shall be made based on the feedback from the Interim Boards of Owners Associations."
Some dog owners were sympathetic to the cause, saying they had seen problems getting worse in the last few months.
Cia Ashenden, an American who was walking her four-year-old Bassett, Jackson, said she had moved to The Greens with her husband because it was a dog-friendly area.
"I always keep Jackson on a lead because there are always lots of people about. There are a lot if cats here and I don't want him chasing after them," she said.
She said although she always cleaned up after her dog, there should be plastic bags attached to bins so that there were no excuses for others not to.
An Australian who has two pekingese and is an apartment owner in The Greens, said she had noticed the problem getting worse in the past few months.
"I think that a lot of the times the dogs are being walked by maids, and I have seen them not cleaning up after them," she said.
A survey proposing pet-free zones was sent a few months ago to residents of Golf Towers, one of the residential buildings at The Greens that borders on the golf course, she said.
She believed one of the areas Emaar was considering for the pet-free zone was the stretch of land between Golf Towers and the golf course, where many dogs are walked. Emaar would not clarify which areas were under consideration for pet-free zones.
Another resident gave a mixed reaction to the circular.
"To be honest I've never had a problem with the dogs because whenever I've seen them people have been responsible and cleared up after their pets," said Danesh Patel, a Canadian resident at The Greens. "I have only occasionally seen dogs off their leashes and they have been well behaved."