Dubai: The Dubai Municipality has advised residents to desist from feeding stray cats or dogs and warned that those found flouting the rule risk fines of Dh200.
"We first warn people and it is only later that, according to the rules, a fine of Dh200 can be imposed. So far we have not imposed fines. It is for their own good. We want people not to take the risk of catching any disease," Gaith Al Salasi, head of the veterinary monitoring section of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.
Al Salasi added, "we keep conducting awareness campaigns and our team also goes around to ensure that rules and regulations are followed. It is not a new rule but we would want to make sure that people stay safe and know how to deal with stray animals."
The fear that residential areas could become breeding grounds for stray animals is another reason that authorities warn people against feeding them.
Animal lovers, however, feel that people need to be guided on this subject.
"I would not say that we should stop people feeding stray animals. People need to be guided," said Leslie Muncey, chairperson of Feline Friends.
"It is usually the fear of catching disease from a stray animal that people have."
It is equally important that the animals are fed correctly.
For instance, giving milk to cats is common, but it should not be done because they suffer lactose intolerance, Muncey said. "Besides the milk goes bad very fast. They can be fed dry food, even chicken and fish which are cooked could cause problems as the bones get brittle with cooking."
"You should give them water because many cats die of dehydration particularly in summers," she added.