Abu Dhabi: Abandoned cats roaming the streets looking for food and shelter around garbage cans is a common sight in the capital.

But saving these animals is becoming difficult because of lack of money and resources, says Feline Friends, worried that the number of abandoned pets is growing fast.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) said they have tried to talk to the municipality regarding this issue, but results were disappointing. This was disclaimed by the municipality as 'false'.

Feline Friends is a non-profit organisation that rescues sick and injured cats and kittens.

"We are a small organisation with little resources. We will never be able to control the feral cat population of a city the size of Abu Dhabi. Other cities such as Dubai have support from the Dubai Municipality and WSPA," said Anita Signorino, coordinator.

She says Abu Dhabi Municipality has taken no action to implement any recommendations made by WSPA or Feline Friends since 2004 to help the cats.

WSPA is an international animal welfare organisation, with its headquarters in London, and 14 offices worldwide. They currently represent 147 different countries, including the Middle East.

In a recent meeting between Feline Friends and Eagle Environmental Services and Pest Control Establishment of Abu Dhabi Municipality, it discussed several measures to check the problem of stray cats.

Euthanising plans

These includes reducing the number of feral cats by 50 per cent. This will be done by euthanising up to 40 unhealthy cats a day. Prior to being euthanised the cats are to be placed in a clean room with water and food for 24 hours.

The pest control company will coordinate with a vet clinic for neutering or sterilisation process and WSPA members will come back to Abu Dhabi and give training to the pest control units. One important step is to educate the public.

"We are looking at long term goals to decrease the number of hungry cats on our street blocks," said a Feline Friends statement. It said the training is essential to stop killing of cats which are feeding mothers.

The municipality on its part said it is building a clinic for treating street cats. It also denied reports that it is catching cats and leaving them in the desert.

The municipal pest control can be contacted on 02-4481500.

Trouble: Stray dogs are a menace, complain residents

Stray dogs are terrorising children at night and early morning in the industrial area, residents have complained.

A motorbike salesman said he was attacked by stray dogs. "I tried to speed away but lost my balance and injured myself," said Qader Rafi, an Indian expatriate. He said he had spent nearly half his monthly wages to repair his bike.

Ravi Shankar, another expatriate in Al Kuwaitat area, said the area around his residence becomes very noisy in the night. "They cry in horrible voices and twice killed and ate my parrots," he said.

Al Ain Municipality said it has outsourced the job to control stray animals. "We are selecting two contractors," said Mubarak Saif Al Shamsi, Deputy Director of the Public Health Department.

- Aftab Kazmi, Bureau Chief, Al Ain