Canine trafficking: Gang steals dogs in Dubai

Owners complain about their dogs being stolen from their back yards

  • Beauty, a Japanese akita
    Beauty, a Japanese akita, was reportedly stolen from her owner’s house on July 9 by and was found twenty days Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
  • Beauty, a Japanese akita
    Dogs Rex (left) and Lucy were reported stolen in Dubai in July 2012.Image Credit: Supplied picture
08 Gulf News

Dubai: For 20 days, Beauty was in hell. Or at least that’s how Salem (name changed) described her condition when he retrieved her from her abductors in a villa in Sharjah on July 29.

She was very skinny, had attack wounds and droopy eyes. The whole of her back had flea bite dermatitis.

Beauty is a one-year-old Japanese Akita that has been with Salem since she was three months old. She was like a family member, Salem said. Hence, when she went ‘missing’ on July 9, the family was shattered.

“I went looking for Beauty here and there but we couldn’t find her,” Salem, a businessman, told Gulf News.

The next day, word spread in the neighbourhood that three men had attempted to abduct his neighbour’s dog. But a French woman was quick enough to snatch the dog back. The men fled the scene immediately. The French woman, however, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Twenty days later, Salem received a tip from a pet shop owner that a Japanese Akita matching Beauty’s description was being sold in Sharjah. Salem pretended to be a buyer and tried to strike a deal with the dog keeper.

“He [dog keeper] wanted to sell Beauty at any price because she was really very sick,” he added.

When Salem told him the truth, the man immediately offered to give him his dog back and begged him not to tell the police.

At that time, Salem saw four other huskies and three German Shepherd dogs in the cage.

When Fatima, an Emirati dog owner, learned about the four huskies from Salem, she instantly thought that it could be her huskies Lucy and Rex. The huskies were reportedly stolen in Al Warqa on July 5, four days before Beauty was taken.

“We suspect that they were taken by a gang because we found that the cage lock had been broken open,” Fatima said.

Fatima said that they have exhausted all means to try to locate her dogs but to no avail. She said her dogs could easily fall prey to dog thieves because of their uniqueness, a fact confirmed by Dr Matt, head veterinarian at the Desert Veterinary Clinic in Dubai.

“Huskies could be sold for a lot of money because of their blue eyes,” Dr Matt told Gulf News. Dogs can be sold for prices ranging between Dh5,000 and Dh12,000 depending on the breed. It could go even higher if the breed is rare and if all the documents and vaccines have been completed prior to the sale.

“If they are not properly fed, they could lose weight, develop skin ulcers and diseases. Out of fear, they could react with aggression. Dogs could start biting each other,” Dr Matt said.

It’s been more than a month since Lucy and Rex’s disappearance. Fatima has not lost hope that she will be reunited with them and she prays that day will be soon.

Beauty, meanwhile, is still undergoing treatment and will be back home after some time.


  • Lesley

    15-Aug-2012 14:18

    Very sorry to say but there are brutal cruel people who take pet dogsfor dog fighting sport.

  • Sherry

    15-Aug-2012 13:15

    I would agree with Jess. I have been through the same experience and lost my dog. I have NO IDEA how he went out, in fact i believe someone attempted steeling him but since he is rather small and hyper, hemanaged to escape. Having said that i believe there is a serious issue inJVT! no security whatsoever which makes me doubt the ability of the current developer to sustain the appeal of this area. WE NEED security not some guys who wander around on bicycle once in a blue moon!

  • Sophie

    15-Aug-2012 11:38

    Thank you so much to Gulf News for highlighting this problem. I have heard of at least a dozen pedigree dogs being taken from homes in the Dubai area in the last three months, with very few being found and rescued. Owners have the double anguish of first having their cherished pets taken from them. Recent animal welfare measures in the UAE show a new trend in official responses to cruelty and abuse - i just hope that this will extend to helping savedogs from being stolen for resale in pet markets and kept in terrible conditions or for a short life in the prevalent underground dog fighting scene. I hope that pet lovers will share this story and call for the authorities to investigate this awful phenomena.

  • Ellen Quanjer

    15-Aug-2012 11:28

    Thanks Janice for addressing this issue! Unfortunately it is quite common for purebred dogs to get lost/stolen in the whole of the UAE. The team of the RAK Animal Welfare Centre really hope your article will help in getting the people involved in this horrible business locked up asap. I so hope the husky's and all the other stolen/lost dogs will bereturned to their owners soon.

  • Leslie

    15-Aug-2012 11:04

    The gang of thieves in JVT is increasing, it seems that they are now also taking both dogs and cats to be bait in dog fighting. This has to STOP, its time the authorities and in particular the security at JVT did something about this.

  • Mauree Groome

    15-Aug-2012 10:01

    It's just sickening, I really feel for these people whose beloved aniimals have been stolen! I worry everyday that mine will be taken...

  • Jess McG

    15-Aug-2012 09:48

    I live in the neighbourhood where Beauty was stolen (Jumeirah Village Triangle) and because it is such a pet-friendly community with large gardens and many dogs, stories of "gangs" appearing in vans and stealing dogs are common. This is horrible. I'm wondering whetherthe authorities will take action, or whether the developer will finally start implementing some REAL security guards in the area. These pets are family members. They are loved. And if this isn't enough, in a legal view well, they are someone's property and taking them is THEFT.

  • Hussain

    15-Aug-2012 09:47

    We read lost of stories about dogs being stolen. Everytime owners contact the authorities they are being asked about solid proof. If no one acts on this it will keep on going. These people have to be stopped. publishing this article was a great start. I hope you keep on following up on this issue Thank you

Latest Comment

Very sorry to say but there are brutal cruel people who take pet dogsfor dog fighting sport.


15 August 2012 16:05jump to comments