Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

Puppy killed in sickening drive-by shooting in Abu Dhabi

A group of dogs were fired upon during the shocking incident

The puppies were shot at in Abu Dhabi. Animal Action UAE
The puppies were shot at in Abu Dhabi. Animal Action UAE

A charity worker spoke of her horror after a puppy was killed in a sickening drive-by shooting in Abu Dhabi.

Volunteers for Animal Action UAE alerted police over reports a gang of men were firing at a litter of pups in a cruel "game" on waste land.

The volunteers regularly feed a pack of 16 dogs at the site every day and believe the remaining animals run the risk of being attacked again.

During a visit last Thursday, the shocked volunteers found one of the puppies lying dead on the ground.

Witnesses told them a group of three men travelling in a jeep had opened fire on the animals.

They said the group killed two of the dogs, driving off with the dead body of the pups' mother.

Another puppy was injured.

We are all horrified by it and also very saddened.

Sarita Harding

The volunteers took the dead puppy to a vet who performed an autopsy, which confirmed the animal had died as a result of wounds to the brain and lungs.

It is not known what type of weapon was used in the attack.

"We are all horrified by it and also very saddened because these are animals that are very friendly and trusting of human beings," said Sarita Harding, a Briton who helps run the charity.

"All of the animals on that site have become wary now and are obviously very scared."

Animal Action UAE picked up the remaining six puppies and plans to rescue around 10 more dogs still living at the site. It will not reveal the location in an effort to help protect the animals still there.

“We definitely need foster homes for about 16 dogs or puppies," said Ms Harding. "We need to remove them all off this site as they are at very high risk."

The charity passed their evidence to the Emirates Animal Welfare Society. EAWS has since opened a police case on Animal Action’s behalf.

“Hopefully from there we can trace the people involved. We are pushing for it to go to the stage of prosecution if we can identify the individuals,” Ms Harding said.

But she believes this is not the first time such a shooting has happened.

“We have had a few dogs in the area go missing but we have never understood why. But potentially the same thing happened previously,” she said.

“Potentially it’s like a sport to them or a game. They may be removing the evidence because it is against the UAE law.”

Anyone caught abusing or illegally hunting, buying or selling animals faces a fine of up to Dh200,000 and a one-year prison sentence under a law brought in three years ago.

“There are probably more cases than you realise,” Ms Harding said.

“We can’t speak about some of the cases because people go looking for the animals. This is why we won’t release the locations. But this happens all around the world. Animal welfare in the UAE is quite new and evolving over time. So we need to promote and push for that evolution faster.”

The disturbing case came after several members of the Bin Kitty Collective Facebook page, dedicated to cat welfare in the UAE, posted to warn others of recent cases of animal abuse.

One member said her cat had been beaten, shot with air pellets and had petrol poured over her in Jumeirah, Dubai, last week. The cat survived the attack.

Dubai rescuer Fawaz Kanaan posted on the page to say there had been six cases of cats shot with air guns in Dubai in the last two months. Another member posted to say his friend found a group of children beating a kitten with a cricket bat this week in Sharjah. The kitten was rescued and survived the attack.

A viral video of a cat being killed by two dogs sparked outrage in 2017, and led to two men being the first to be charged under the animal cruelty law.

Last year, the UAE’s National Conference on Animal Welfare heard a plea from officials warning vets to watch for cases of animal cruelty by children, because it could be a precursor to harming fellow humans.

It is a view that has been backed by several studies, including one by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University, which found animal abusers are five times more likely to harm other people.

Anyone interested in either donating to the treatment of the injured puppy or fostering the remaining dogs can get in touch with the charity at animal.action@hotmail.com

Updated: May 7, 2019 01:01 PM