Abu Dhabi: An animal welfare group has called on pet owners to start making plans for their pets during the summer as they prepare to go on holiday instead of leaving it to the last minute or even worse — simply abandoning them.
“The majority of pets that had homes are dumped towards the summer or over the summer as people prepare for their travels. At the same time, this is when the majority of cats and dogs in foster homes are returned to us as people have holidays planned and as the pets aren’t their own,” said Mel Stones, a lead organisers of Animal Action UAE, one of the country’s most prominent animal welfare groups.
“Summer is a terrible time for us. Where others may be able to enjoy their holidays, we are frantically looking for anyone to foster any of our dogs or cats, even if it is just for a few days,” she added.
Stones said the group’s work in helping abandoned pets is made even more difficult as all of the organisation’s foster homes are full.
“Summer makes this very difficult because we have almost no foster homes available, we try and help by taking on pets that are being left behind by their owners moving abroad, and we want to help with these dogs that we feel may die of sunstroke or dehydration over that period.
“This is excruciatingly difficult when we also get less donations over the summer with so many people being away. The only thing we can do is hope that we have many adoptions before people decide they’ll just wait until after their holidays to look at adopting,” she added.
The majority of pets that had homes are dumped towards the summer or over the summer as people prepare for their travels. At the same time, this is when the majority of cats and dogs in foster homes are returned to us as people have holidays planned ...
Stones also commented on the predicament the pets themselves face when left on the streets by their owners.
“Dumping a pet that is used to living in a home and having food and water provided for them, as well as a safe place to live and sleep, is a death sentence for them, especially in the summer heat. They are not street smart as they’ve never had to be.”
Make use of boarding homes
Commenting on what pet owners can do to manage the situation, Stones said that several boarding shelters were available in the UAE and opened to take in animals.
“Pet owners should start saving for dog or cat boarding in the different venues months before by putting a little bit of money aside each month. They also need to book well in advance because the venues fill up long before summer — especially the nicer ones.
“So many new boarding venues have opened in the last two years so there should be enough places in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Alternatively, one can always hire a licensed pet sitter to go and check on their pets several times a day, or ask their family and friends and create a very tight schedule,” she added.
And with the UAE passing legislation last year making it illegal to abandon pets, Stones said she was hopeful the new law would possibly act as a deterrent.