x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Man 'kept fighting roosters and left dead animals in cages'

A Dutch man in Dubai is accused of keeping fighting roosters and dealing in endangered animal species without the proper permits, a court hears.

DUBAI // A man accused of keeping fighting roosters and dealing in endangered species left dead animals in cages where they would be fed upon by live ones, a court heard today.

The Ministry of Environment and Water twice sent inspectors to the man's farm in Al Khawaneej in January this year after being tipped off about his activities.

The ministry complained to police after finding the fighting roosters and a number of endangered animal and plant species including 27 rare palm trees thought to have been bought from Al Jidaf.

It claims the man did not have the proper permits to keep the plants and animals, which included an unidentified bird from the Amazon.

BJ a 33-year-old from Holland who has been living in the UAE for the past six years, denied failing to care for the animals, saying they were fed and their cages cleaned twice daily. He also denied failing to remove dead ones from their cages.

He said that he began working with such animals as a hobby with a friend who has since passed away. "I then started working with his wife and we began procedures to legally start a farm that sells animals and plants."

He claims that authorities asked he and his partner to shelter the animals and plants on his farm, while also encouraging him to open a shop through which he could sell them. He said that while the shop was being made ready he sold the species through his farm.

Rare species accounted for only 5 to 10 per cent of the total number of animals and plants on the farm, he said, adding that he had the proper permits to import the species from Holland. However, he admitted he did not have the correct permit to keep them.

The case was adjourned to September 12.

salamir@thenational.ae