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Education is needed, not a total dog ban

A reader complains that education, not more restrictions, are needed to keep dogs an integrated part of life in the Emirates.

In reference to the article Dogs banned from Abu Dhabi's parks and beaches (January 7), it seems that the dog ban is being reinforced with public health warnings. I find this a complete excuse since in many other countries dogs are accepted and welcomed as part of daily life and there don't appear to be problems with dog mess. Fines are imposed if owners are found to be disobeying the rules, but this generally isn't a problem - most dog owners accept responsibility of cleaning up after their dogs.

I live in a development in Dubai where there are lots of dogs. The owners are all very social and you see them walking with their plastic bags ready to pick up after them. However, I agree there is still a huge amount of dog mess in the development, but this is due to the maids walking the dogs and not picking up after them. If the maids were educated to care for the communal environment, I genuinely believe that there wouldn't be a problem. It's a question of educating rather than banning.

Additionally, it seems illogical to impose the ban without setting up organised dog parks. Dogs need exercise and need to be able to run and the opportunity to socialise with other dogs - it's very important.

In Dubai there are a couple of privately run dog parks, but these are expensive to use on a regular basis. However, if there were municipality-run parks that were free or charged a nominal fee, then so many dog owners would take advantage of these spaces. Dog owners are desperate for places to walk their animals in a secure environment, off the lead. Numerous dog parks are needed urgently and would be greatly welcomed.

Jenny Hunt, Dubai


Help needed for US horse racing

The sports article 'Big three' are under real threat (January 12) reported on the financial difficulties facing the venerable racecourses of American horse racing's Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont.Thank you so much for bringing attention to the problems facing American horse racing. We need a repeal and replacement of the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978. A new act would establish a national racing commissioner but this doesn't mean that the federal government would run the commission or have a seat at the table.

There is zero national oversight with any effective enforcement. Until we get a national commissioner, American horse racing will continue to march on to its death.

Sean Kerr, US


Close parenting is best for infants

John O'Connell's first person account Gina Ford's extreme maternity methods (January 11) reported on the Scottish maternity nurse's disciplined way of getting infants to sleep at night. This is in contrast to the attachment parenting (AP) concept of providing breast feeding on demand. The author asks, "Where, by the way, is the research showing that AP's methods are in any way superior?"

Actually, the evidence for the benefits of attachment (and the damage that can be caused from leaving babies to cry and a lack of secure attachment) are extensive and well researched. Where on the other hand is any research about the effect of Gina Ford's methods on infants? It is solely designed to fit a parent's schedule with no consideration for the effect on the child. It is also not acknowledged that parents can get plenty of sleep, work, and be very happy through attachment parenting.

Shannon Jones, Abu Dhabi


Residents seek maintenance

The business article Dubai homeowner groups struggle to flip switch (January 8) reported that residents want to take over maintenance of their buildings both to improve service and to cut costs, however the legal process has been delayed by developers.

The Government is doing far too little, far too late. Almost all of the developers should be charged for false advertising. The amenities promised are rarely the amenities delivered, but the information remains on their websites to this day.

Eric Sandler, Dubai


Changing hearts and minds

The news article 'Being in jail is not the end of life' (January 4) reported that former prisoners showed new skills such as furniture making at an exhibition in Ajman. The UAE is one the best countries in the world in maintaining law and order, and prosecuting and confining criminals surely reduces crime.

Another effective way would be to wipe out the element of crime from the hearts and minds of the convicts by way of a government-funded mandatory prisoner development programme that includes psychological and religious counselling, vocational and educational programmes, personality development workshops and rewards.

F Baasleim, Dubai

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