Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

Banned breed owners facing having to deport dogs hit out at new rules

Owners have until July to register dogs that are on the list of banned breeds and which are already in the UAE, but it remains unclear what will happen then.
Rottweilers Thor, left, and Daria with Spook in a flat in Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National
Rottweilers Thor, left, and Daria with Spook in a flat in Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // Dog owners are urging the Government to rethink strict new laws in which some breeds have been added to a list of banned animals.

Last year’s law on keeping dangerous animals as pets classifies some domestic pets in the same category as lions, tigers and other wild animals.

Owners have until July to register dogs that are on the list of banned breeds and which are ­already in the UAE, but it remains unclear what will happen then.

A by-law is due to be announced this year but until then, registered owners of dobermans, rottweilers and boxers are being forced to consider sending their pets home. Relocating a dog can cost more than Dh25,000.

Alyazi Al Khattal, who has a two-year-old rottweiler called Daria, claims responsible owners are being unfairly targeted.

“My dog is already registered,” Ms Al Khattal said.

“I bought her from a local breeder. I’m worried because it is a form of bullying against my breed. Most of us are law-abiding citizens who bought the dogs legally.

“This law is unnecessary and won’t fix the problem. We are an easy target. No responsible owner would take their dog fighting.”

In January, the law published in the Official Gazette stated that owners of dangerous animals had to register them with authorities within 30 days.

All dogs must now be licensed, registered and kept on a lead at all times in public.

A prison term of between three and seven years can be handed to anyone found using a dangerous animal to attack another person causing permanent injury, and for life if the attack is fatal.

Other penalties include fines of between Dh10,000 and Dh400,000, and detainment of the animal.

The law prohibits the possession, trade or breeding of dogs classified as dangerous.

Authorities are in the process of introducing a dog registry to track these animals.

Penalties include imprisonment and a fine ranging from Dh50,000 to Dh500,000.

“Dogs are not wild animals, they are working animals and domesticated, so how can they be classified with lions or tigers?” said Ms Al Khattal, who lives in Abu Dhabi.

“The law should be applied against those who are selling wild animals online or through social media, or breeders at puppy mills. There are bigger issues than going against these breeds.”

Daria is being trained as a therapy dog to help people with learning difficulties, special needs or those recovering in hospital.

Hashim Al Awadhi, head of the veterinary services section at Dubai Municipality, said all dog owners should register their pets.

“People who have banned animals must register them as soon as possible and before July with the veterinary services section by calling 042891114 to give the information of the animal,” he said.

Another by-law, to be implemented this year by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, will outline what owners of dogs that are on the banned list are required to do.

Rashid Al Ghaith, who lives in Jumeirah, also has a rottweiler, Vince, and said the breed had an unfair reputation.

“My dog has been with me since he was very young, and has never shown any bad behaviour or aggression towards anyone,” Mr Al Ghaith said.

“Vince is registered and has been through all the required procedures with the municipality. I was shocked to hear of the changes to the law and what this could mean for us.

“It would be like throwing out a member of my family.”

nwebster@thenational.ae

Updated: April 17, 2017 04:00 AM

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