The conditions in a pet shop in Satwa were disgraceful and there was urgent need for action.
I went to the pet store one Friday evening last month and then again a few days later. Both times I saw three dogs in cages — two were in one cage and one in another.
One of the dogs was sick and very, very thin. It had a bad eye infection and was underweight. One or both of the dogs that shared the cage had diarrhoea. The dogs were in cages with no bedding and just sat on the metal bars. Their nails were long because of this.
Both times I visited the store, I observed a large quantity of urine and faeces in the trays below the cages. It was absolutely stinking. Even though the dogs were at the back of the store, you could smell it as soon as you walked into the shop.
I asked the staff to pull out the trays and clean up the mess both times. They did so after much pressure from me, but they didn't clean it properly.
They didn't care or want to take care of the dogs at all. There was no water both times I went, and again they reluctantly put water out for the dogs after much argument.
Generally in this case, they don't give water so that the animals don't urinate and create more mess for them.
I asked them what treatment the sick dog had received and they said a vet from Sharjah had come to give the dog an injection. There was no medication there for this dog.
I asked them when the dog last had its treatment and they said over a week earlier. The dog's eyes were in a bad state — swollen, encrusted and with hair loss around the eye area. Also, the dog's ears had scabs inside and outside.
In addition, one of the four cats in glass cages seemed to be in a lot of pain.
The whole experience was disgusting and unnecessarily cruel. There is no need to keep animals like this.
The store would never sell them in the condition they were in. If they remained in the same situation at least one of the dogs would likely die in the near future since it was underweight due to diarrhoea.
I reported the shop to Dubai Municipality. They took the details and called me back to reconfirm.
I was in touch with them again after the incident and they went immediately to check out the shop. It is my understanding that action was taken.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Dubai Municipality for acting so quickly and efficiently and I would like to appeal to the authorities to restrict the number of trade licences being issued for pet stores.
There are more than enough pet shops here already and the number of abandoned and abused animals is causing problems for the municipality and volunteer organisations, with concerned residents rescuing and taking in multiple animals in their homes to care for.
— The reader is based in Dubai
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Swift action was taken
Adil Al Badri, head of the Animal Welfare Unit at Dubai Municipality, said:
"We are monitoring all private veterinary establishments in Dubai, including pet stores. We conduct regular inspections. In addition, we cover all complaints received from the public."
Regarding the case reported by our community reporter, he said swift action was taken.
"We received a complaint about mistreated dogs in a pet store in Dubai. Immediately, the inspector responsible for the area went to investigate and found the dogs. He told the owners to take the dogs to a nearby vet's clinic and ensure they were treated well. The establishment was fined."
According to Al Badri, the fine amount differs according to the situation.
He said: "Lots of issues are taken into consideration, such as the history of the establishment and prior violations. Fines can range from Dh200 to even the closing down of the establishment."
He urged residents to report any cases of animal cruelty on the Dubai Municipality hotline number — 800 900.
"We ask residents to act as our third eye. But also keep in mind that there may be a bigger story behind what you see. Professionals are needed to evaluate the situation. We ask people to be fair in their judgment of situations, and we will definitely investigate. We all have to stop cruelty towards animals — it is our duty."
— By Sanya Nayeem/Deputy Readers Editor