x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

RAK animal shelter moving into more spacious digs

New facility to include paddock for stray donkeys and pet-supply centre.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // The RAK Animal Welfare Centre is moving to a larger location that will likely include a paddock for stray donkeys.

The centre will relocate to the Al Hamra area from its current location near the RAK goat market after receiving a land grand from Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, the Ruler of Ras al Khaimah. The shelter will host its first open day tomorrow and will include a pet-supply store, the first in the emirate.

The donkey facilities were included in the plans after the number of assistance calls involving them surged. While not as common as cats in RAK, they wander freely and are usually not owned by anyone in particular. Dr Terri Hutchinson, the centre’s manager, said while dealing with them could be hazardous it was also well worthwhile.

“About four weeks ago I went out to this donkey with a broken leg and it actually kicked me in the elbow and broke my arm,” she said. “We want to get them off the road because they’re so dangerous. We want to round them up and have them somewhere safe so they can be fed and looked after.”

The original shelter filled quickly after being opened a year ago by Melissa Davis, a Canadian kindergarten teacher at the Ras al Khaimah English Speaking School. It is currently home to 15 cats and 70 dogs. A more spacious location became necessary after the number of four-footed tenants skyrocketed last month.

The shelter, which received an average of 25 animals a month this winter, saw that figure soar to 85 last month. Many of those came amid increased co-operation with the RAK Municipality, which brought in 25 last month.

The facility requests a Dh500 donation to take in dogs and Dh400 for cats, which includes de-sexing, micro-chipping and vaccinations.

azacharias@thenational.ae