Canine care. Amirah at her residence with a few of her dogs. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/XPRESS

DUBAI An Umm Al Quwain resident, who has over 150 dogs in a villa, is all set to relocate after the municipality issued her a notice to vacate.

Breaking her silence amid what she termed as malicious media reports being circulated about SOS for Emirates Dogs, the non-profit animal shelter she runs with two others, 47-year-old Amirah Williams told XPRESS: “The point is that the lives of 152 dogs are at stake. Of them, 12 have special needs. It is imperative that they remain safe.

“But there are many malicious lies, untrue rumours and published articles being circulated about our group and this is unacceptable. We are looking at legal channels to deal with them.”

Search and rescue

A New Zealand Maori who first came to the UAE six years ago, Williams said she has been rescuing dogs from industrial, coastal and other areas since four years.

“We work closely with the authorities, including the police, on rescues. Besides, many shelters that cannot keep the dogs send them here. We have rescued over 400 dogs this year alone, of which 260 have been rehomed. The rest are with us.”

She said the villa in which the dogs are currently housed is massive with around 12 rooms and large outdoor spaces. She said she moved into the place in March this year and things were fine when there were fewer dogs. The problem began when the numbers increased and the municipality received a complaint from the neighbourhood.

Williams, who is looking at a new place to relocate the animals, said: “We do not want to shift out of Umm Al Quwain because there is no shelter for dogs in this emirate. We should be able to move into another place three times the size of the current villa very shortly.”

She said all the 152 dogs that she has have passports and are fully vaccinated. “We ensure that the dogs are in the best of health.” The shelter also has a separate isolation unit where a rescued dog that just comes in is assessed and duly treated before it is integrated with the others.

“We get a lot of support from the community and we are very thankful for that. It is unfortunate that false rumours are being spread to malign the name of the shelter.”