x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Expert lauds Ajman fines for dangerous animals at home

Animal welfare official praises and supports municiipality's initiative on dangerous species.

An animal-welfare official has urged the other emirates to follow the example set by Ajman and introduce fines for people who keep dangerous animals in their homes.

Ajman Municipality's environment and public health department announced this month that offenders would face a Dh10,000 fine and confiscation of animals, and would also have to pay compensation to anyone injured by them.

Inspectors have been on the lookout for animals such as snakes, crocodiles and monkeys in residential areas.

The initiative has been welcomed by Dr Elsayed Mohamed, the programme manager at the Dubai office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

"We appreciate this move by Ajman Municipality," Dr Mohamed said. "We really support it and we call on other municipalities to adopt the same policy, and not allow dangerous animals to be kept in homes.

"It is very important … we'd like to include all exotic pets, but let's take it step by step.

"Those keeping dangerous animals as pets should face strong legislation to prohibit it. We have heard from the Ministry of Environment that they are preparing a list of dangerous animals."

He said his office was aware of many instances in the UAE where cheetahs, lions, baboons, crocodiles, pythons and other species had been kept in homes.

"The list is very long but accidents mostly happen with these species," Dr Mohamed added.

"The Ajman decree does not prohibit keeping dangerous animals at farms. It prohibits keeping them in homes, in an apartment or villa in the city."

csimpson@thenational.ae