Animal rescue

UAE: Abandoned pet cases on the rise after Covid, animal rescue groups say – News

Volunteers investigate at least one case of an abandoned cat or dog every day

The number of pet abandonment cases has generally trended upward over the past two years, with rescue groups nationwide having to investigate at least one case of an abandoned dog or cat every day.

Some relief groups said the numbers rose significantly after the UAE largely recovered from pandemic-induced lockdowns. Office workers across the country enthusiastically adopted or bought pets during the lockdown, assuming it would last forever, rescuers said.

“Now that they have to go back to the office, they don’t know who will take care of the helpless animal,” said Amanda Stevens, animal rescue activist and owner of pet sitting company Paw Central. , to the Khaleej Times.

“Inexperienced owners end up handing the animal over to rescue groups, kennels, or worse, dumping it in the middle of the streets,” Amanda said. Additionally, several rescue cases are found tortured, beaten, starved, over-represented, and sometimes with maggot-infested wounds.

Abuse cases draw national attention after UAE royal family steps in to help

Over the past few weeks and months, cases of animal cruelty and abandonment have drawn national attention, particularly after members of the UAE’s ruling families came forward to save the unfortunate creatures. .

A stray dog ​​who was seriously injured after being shot multiple times with an air gun is now in the care of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Grace, a Saluki mix, was rescued by the Bubbles Pet Rescue group after she was found injured in the Al Barashi area of ​​Sharjah last month. Similarly, Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmed Al Maktoum adopted Midnight, a mixed-breed dog who was starved, abused, beaten and over-bridled.

In the most recent case of irresponsible owners rescuing a locked-out Husky with the involvement of police and Dubai Municipality, Amanda said many of the abandoned dogs were expensive breeds of working dogs such as Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and German Shepherds.

Husky abandoned in Dubai relocated to Germany

Husky abandoned in Dubai relocated to Germany

“They are working dogs with a lot of energy. They need mental stimulation. Back in their natural habitat, huskies are sled dogs. Many people buy or adopt these breeds without doing enough research on what is necessary for the upkeep and upkeep of the dog,” she explained.

Amanda also said that huskies, malamutes and snow dogs are bred domestically or imported from overseas.

“Many rescue cases are not microchipped and unvaccinated. That can only mean they are raised locally,” she said. Amanda said she managed to bring several huskies and malamutes back to Germany, Denmark and Amsterdam after they were dumped in the United Arab Emirates.

Why do people abandon their pets?

Amirah William, founder and director of the Stray Dogs Center in Umm Al Quwain, said her organization had rescued more than 8,000 animals and around 7,000 had been rehomed since 2014.

“Funding is by far the biggest challenge we face. We rely solely on public support to operate. Whether through corporate or individual sponsorships, paid activities, adoption fees and fundraisers,” Amirah said.

“The biggest mistake is that people think pets are easy to care for, especially puppies,” she said.

Experts have always maintained that puppies need constant attention. “Before deciding to adopt, you have to ask yourself: can I afford the costs associated with owning a pet? Can I provide the animal’s food, appropriate shelter, pay the vet’s bills , training, if needed, and moving costs?” says Amira.

Amirah also said that many people who have to give up their pets choose to rehome them themselves. However, there is a negative stigma that explains why some people choose to get rid of it. “The best option is to go to a shelter or a rescue group,” she said.

Similarly, the founder of the nonprofit Animals and Us shelter in Fujairah, Michelle Francis, said: “Most people don’t have animal welfare at heart. They think pets are props, and a lot of people have them because someone else has one. as if they were following a trend.”

Michelle said: “Once the trend stops, where they see pets as accessories, I think that will solve a lot of problems.” In addition, during Covid-19, more and more people were welcoming pets.

“We’ve met some amazing people who love their animals. However, I don’t believe the recent dropouts are solely due to the resumption of normal post-Covid activities. As shelter organizations, we do not place animals just because people felt lonely during the pandemic. We are very strict on adoption and placement,” she said.

Meanwhile, some cases of pet transmission have also occurred because pet parents are genuinely unable to care for their pets. “A single mother who came to us with a Golden Retriever said her child had too much anxiety around the dog,” she said. Amanda also called for tougher penalties and action against people who raise pets and sell them for money.

What are Take, Neuter and Release?

Melissa Whitehead, a public relations professional and animal rescue enthusiast, said: “There are so many homeless cats and dogs in the UAE, with a few caring people going out of their way to help the situation. I helped in the process of TRN – Take, Neutral and Release.”

“This is a process that many rescuers use to help reduce the number of street born cats and dogs. A cage is set up with a juicy treat inside; once the cat enters, the cage door closes and we can get him back to the vet for neutering or neutering,” Melissa said.

This prevents them from reproducing and having another litter of ten babies born on the streets, exponentially increasing the population. “Once the cats have been spayed or neutered, we release them into the streets making sure to keep food and water nearby. Dogs tend to be a bit easier in the sense that you can approach, but there are an alarming number of animals on the streets or abandoned in shelters,” she added.

“Some shelters alone have over 200 animals, not to mention the 30 street cats you see daily,” Melissa said.

What happens to a pet that has been dumped?

According to Amirah, pet psychology is not much different from human psychology. “When traumatized, it causes heartache, pain, and sometimes disconnection or depression. The same goes for your pet,” she said.

Dr Sam Westhead, Clinical Director at Amity Veterinary Clinic, said: “It really depends on the animal. I couldn’t begin to think of throwing my dog ​​away because he is so cruel. Animals would feel disoriented and lost and experience grief. “

“They’re out of their familiar surroundings, and that eventually manifests as abnormal behaviors. They’re over-grooming or licking. They’re under stress and they’re in a new situation and wondering why this happened to them,” said Dr. Westhead.

“Once they are picked up and taken to a kennel, they find it very upsetting as they are surrounded by other animals who feel the same,” he added.

“People need to be aware that two things happen to all these poor homeless animals,” Melissa said.

“They go to a shelter where people usually support them out of their own pockets and rely on the community to donate food etc.”


“Once the shelter is at capacity, the individual has no choice but to sedate certain animals or say no to other animals that might need a home or help. Sometimes , the authorities put these strays to sleep, regardless of their age, their nature,” she added.

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