Dubai :Dog owners in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and other new developments in Dubai are crying foul over a ban that prevents them from keeping pets at home or walking them in the neighbourhood.
Left with no choice, many are being forced to either give away their pets or move home, they said. Naila Hourani, a resident of Shams at JBR, said, "Since moving for us is not an option, we are looking at a new home for our pug."
Pointing out that several others in the complex were also in a similar predicament, she claimed she received a 30-day notice from the building last month warning her to abide by the rules or risk being fined.
Signboards saying "No Pets are Allowed" can be seen at regular intervals along The Walk and many other areas in Dubai. Hourani said she could not understand why dogs were banned in a beach community like JBR which she described as "a perfect environment for dogs". "I agree they should enforce rules for clearing up after the dog, but imposing a ban like this is extreme," she said.
Revilo Clarke, a resident of Al Barsha 1, said he and his wife were living in the constant fear that they would have to move out after paying an advance on rent for the apartment as they had a Labrador.
He said the agent of his apartment, who was desperate for tenants when they moved in a year ago, allowed them to bring their dog despite the contract not allowing them to keep pets. "He told us not to worry about the contract as there were others with dogs in the building," he alleged.
"In my view, if dogs are legally allowed to be imported into the country and are being registered with the [Dubai] Municipality, a practical solution has to be provided for owners to keep them and walk them," he said.
Sameirah, a resident of Palm Jumeirah, said she could no longer walk her dog on the Marina Walk, The Palm or even at Dubai Marina because of the ban. "Even in the lobby of my apartment building, there is a sign that says dogs are not allowed."
"What am I expected to do? I am a property owner and I do own a dog. I don't see why I can't keep it that way?"
Laura Marr of the Dubai Pug Club, who often visits The Walk at JBR with her dogs, said the ban is extremely harsh and unreasonable. "Dubai is a cosmopolitan city like London, Paris, New York or Milan where you can walk your pets anywhere. Dog owners are restricted on where they can't walk their dogs - at the parks, beaches and now JBR," she said.
She suggested that rather than banning all pets, there should be a hefty fine in place for owners who don't pick up after their dogs.
"Some beaches are full of litter. Why is there no ban on people using them?" she asked.