UAE | Society

Ban on taking pets to India

Only those relocating after two years of continuous stay abroad allowed to bring in pets on board

  • By Abhishek sengupta, Staff Reporter, XPRESS
  • Published: 21:00 May 8, 2013

  • Image Credit: SUPPLIED PHOTO
  • Pet lovers: Atashi Gupta and her husband with their two mini maltese. The couple dread the thought of having to part with their pets

Dubai: India has imposed a ban people bringing pets into the country.

According to revamped baggage rules, only those relocating to India after two years of continuous stay abroad will be allowed to bring two pets aboard international flights from now on.

For years authorities let anyone flying to India to check in two pets as luggage with proper health certificates.

Animal traffickers have been misusing this rule by pretending to be tourists and some foreigners have also been known to sell animals to breeders in India on the pretext of having a holiday there.

Many in the UAE say the move will go a long way to curbing international animal trafficking and duty-free imports of exclusive breeds into Indian homes.

“This will stop cruelty against pet animals. Since they cannot always express their pain and discomfort, it our duty to ensure their safety,” says Dubai animal rights activist Aysha Kelaif.

Kelaif, who has been running the Dubai Animal Rescue Centre (DARC) for 17 years, usually gives rescued animals to proper families for free. However, she’s always done so with her heart in her mouth.

“It will break my heart to see if one of my animals hasn’t had proper care. And what can be worse is to see them being sold for profit in a faraway country,” she says, adding countries need to get tough on animal laws.

A representative of a Dubai pet-handling company who wished to remain anonymous says this phenomenon became an “in thing” several years ago after a mobile services company launched their now famous “You & I” campaign.

The pug that “followed a boy everywhere he went” suddenly became the nation’s breed of choice. Indians, he says, were desperate to own the best looking pug, whatever it took.

Others like the Pomeranian, beagle and golden retriever have also been in demand among Indian expatriates, according to another Dubai-based pet company, EuroPets.

“The new laws are an encouragement for Indian people to purchase their pets from Indian breeders,” says Kinan Bran, Managing Director.

While this does go a long way to rooting out illegal and unethical treatment of pets, some genuine pet lovers say the move could hurt them.

Mother of two Atashi Gupta shivers at the thought of having to leave behind her two Mini Maltese should the need arise.

“I’ve had Lucky and Star for over seven years now and they have become my family ever since my children moved out. I can’t imagine a law that could separate us.”

Natasha Thomas, a Dubai-based radio news presenter who owns a mixed breed bulldog, knows new laws are on her side, but not necessarily on her friend’s.

“It’s a great move, but what about those who’ve more than two dogs? I have a friend who owns three. Where is he going to the leave the third behind and why should he be forced to?” she asks.

Difficult it may be for the officials, but it isn’t really impossible to tell an animal lover and a smuggler apart.


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Comments (5)

Your comments
  1. Added 12:17 May 9, 2013

    Beautiful photograph of my sweet sis; my brother Raj. both of you are looking gorgeous. Anyway, no probs for you, because you are staying more than two years continuously. It is mainly, for the people, who goes o abroad to bring good pedigree imported pups for commercial purpose. Thanks to Lucky and for making you a part of news.

    Dr. Partho Bhattacharya, CHENNAI, India

  2. Added 09:39 May 9, 2013

    I understand Ayesha for your concern about the pets being abused but what happens to me when I rescued so many cats and dogs and if I am not allowed to take them when I leave would you take them from me.Pet lovers and myself would appreciate if you could check out some pet shop in Dubai and Sharjah who are stealing breed cats and dogs from villas and breeding then selling them for such a huge amount and faking their birth certificates I can say this as I worked with one pet chalet and this was being done there. When rabbits gave birth n were old enough were sold and their healthy mother and father were put in the thrash car and some were sold to Sharjah shops where they are horribly kept I am a witness and because I took objection I was asked to resign because this is how they do business and make a lot of money

    EMMA J MANNATH, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 08:57 May 9, 2013

    There should be a system in every Indian embassy overseas for Non resident Indians who own pets to register them as personal pets. If the Indian government says that the owner must own them for 2 years, then be it so. They can check with the embassy if the pet was really owned by the person for this period. If yes, they should be allowed to bring them to India regardless of the number. There is always a win for some and a lose for some in such cases. Overall, it is better for the animals and all animal lovers should appreciate that. Lets continue to protect the animals.

    habeeb, doha, Qatar

  4. Added 08:42 May 9, 2013

    Probably what the officials can do is allow to get the pets and let the pet owners go to some Animal Rights Centre(Registered ones) and get their pets tagged with some ID Tags from the centres. The officials should also get a list from the Airports the details of the owner of pet/s who entered into the country so that they can follow-up if someone doesnt turn-up for tagging.

    Hari, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 04:14 May 9, 2013

    Many people involved in animal trade for personnel gain and profit, ignoring the animal rights, now some restrictions are imposed to identify the genuine person, who can come with their pets to India after compliance of the requirements as per law of the land. Abhishek Kadyan, Media Adviser to UN affiliated OIPA in India and Sukanya Kadyan,Programme Director of PFA Haryana welcome new rules.

    Naresh Kadyan, Delhi, India