Ras Al Khaimah: Almost every person in Ras Al Khaimah sees at least one stray cat or dog once a day. And if you leave them on the streets, a healthy pair of feline and their offspring can multiply to 360,000 in just six years — that's seven kittens per hour roaming the streets.
The Ras Al Khaimah (RAK AWC) Animal Welfare Centre heads out everyday on reports of stray animals that pose danger to motorists. At least 15 animals are caught on a weekly basis. RAK AWC is funded by the government of Ras al Khaimah.
"These stray animals are a big problem. Cats are so densely populated that they have to fight for food and survival. They also get hit by cars and are dangerous to motorists," Ellen Quanjer, RAK AWC manager, told Gulf News.
"Of the stray animals that are brought in to our shelter at least 75 per cent are in bad nick. They are covered in fleas and ticks, have worms and are dirty. Also, some of them have skin infections, are going blind, are limping or are carrying signs of abuse," Quanjer said.
UAE Federal law No 16 of 2007 was enacted for the protection of animals from abuse and negligence. Those who are caught violating animal rights will be imprisoned for up to one year and fined a maximum of Dh20,000.
If the stray animal does not show aggressive behaviour, is healthy and can be trained, then it is listed for adoption. It is vaccinated, micro-chipped for identification, and desexed. Desexing is the process of removing the reproductive organs of an animal. "It is the most humane way to control the population of stray animals. It is tough surviving on the streets when they are overpopulated, so that they have to fight for food and territory, in a very hot climate," Quanjer told Gulf News.
The shelter conducts screening processes for families interested in adopting stray animals. Fees of Dh400 for cats and Dh500 for dogs serve as contribution to the animals' medical expenses. Around 150 stray animals, including rabbits, hamsters and foxes, get adopted every year.
Animals unfit for adoption undergo the Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programme wherein they are first given medical attention upon capture, cleaned and desexed before they are returned to a safer environment. For those that can no longer be saved, euthanasia is the last option.
The TNR programme is conducted with the supervision of representatives from the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
To report a stray animal or adopt one in Ras Al Khaimah, call +971 504321873.