New animal identification system planned after body of loved pet called Emile was found in the road by workers who missread collar tag as 'Email' and took body to incinerator and disposed of it.
Dead dog incinerated without owner's knowledge
ABU DHABI // A woman whose dog was killed and incinerated without her knowing has welcomed a new system to identify dead animals found in Abu Dhabi.
Nouf Al Qasimi’s pet dog Emile was killed in January after running away from the family home in Al Bateen. It is thought he was hit by a car.
Emile’s body was found on the road by workers who misread his collar, thinking it said “Email”.
The dog was taken to an incinerator at the Centre for Waste Management – Abu Dhabi (CWM) for disposal.
“I just fell apart when I heard this had happened, because I couldn’t get a collar or a body or anything,” said Ms Al Qasimi. “He was just gone.”
The CWM will collaborate with the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) in trying to differentiate between strays and missing pets by scanning for microchips and checking for details of ownership.
“It is a new social responsibility, which I hope will help a lot of people,” said Margit Muller, the director of the falcon hospital, who hopes the plans will be introduced next month.
ADFH, the only hospital authorised to neuter strays, has a database of all animals it treats.
If the microchipped animal’s details are not found, the hospital will contact the city’s veterinary clinics to find its owner.
“This is so important because a lot of owners get really distressed if they don’t know what happened to their pets,” said Ms Muller. “Now, at least we can inform them if something happens.”
Ms Al Qasimi said she hoped the procedure would offer closure to owners, who until now had been left wondering what happened to their missing pets.
“It is devastating to be in the dark,” she said. “This was a soul and spirit. You don’t just throw him away.”
The Emirati had owned Emile for 10 years after finding him half-dead in a rubbish skip while living in the US.
Ms Al Qasimi took him home, nursed him back to health and brought him to Abu Dhabi, where he lived with her for the past eight years.
She only discovered her pet’s fate when, after realising he had escaped, she spoke to workers in her neighbourhood who told her an animal matching Emile’s description had been found dead on a road and taken away.
“I asked if the dog’s collar had any contact details, to which they replied it had an email address, not a phone number,” Ms Al Qasimi said. “That’s when I realised they thought it said ‘Email’.”
Omar Al Shubaki, a contract manager at CWM, said dead animals found in the capital used to be sent to an incinerator in Al Ain after staff checked for a microchip and notified the owner.
Mr Al Shubaki said he did not know why Ms Al Qasimi had not been notified.
Under the new scheme, all dead animals found in Abu Dhabi will be disposed of in an incinerator at ADFH.
Mr Al Shubaki said the initiative was a step in the right direction to “raise standards in Abu Dhabi”.
This article has been amended since publication. Ms Al Qasimi is an Emirati and not an American-Lebanese expatriot as originally stated.