An artist’s impression of Desert Safari, which will replace Dubai Zoo. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Residents will soon be able to buy municipality-approved pets by May, as the civic body will launch its pet market that adheres to all of the emirate’s safety regulations.

To combat the illegal trade of dogs and birds in Dubai, the municipality will soon open the doors of its pet market that will implement strict regulations where only authorised cats, dogs and birds will be on offer.

“The Birds and Pets Market will be opened in the next few months. The project was initially expected to open last November but was delayed due to logistic reasons, and the project is now right back on track,” Obaid Ebrahim, Head of Market Section at Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News.

The 50-hectare development, located on the Hatta-Dubai Road, includes an administration block, a block for holding auctions, clinic block, health quarry, labour accommodation, and the animal hotel.

The new market will be three times as big compared to the current domestic animal market in Dubai. A bird market in Deira, close to the fish market, is comparatively tiny.

Ebrahim explained that there is currently a committee responsible for studying the average price of rent for shops, and the starting price of auctioning off the pets, which includes birds, cats and dogs.

Some of the municipality prohibited list of dogs includes the American pitbull terrier, American bulldog, Staffordshire bull terrier, Tosa and Doberman.

According to a Dubai Municipality survey, Emirati traders are the biggest group – 44 per cent – in the local pets and birds trade. They are followed by Indians, who comprise more than a quarter of the trader profile. Pakistanis are the next largest group, at 19 per cent; Arabs seven per cent and other nationalities four per cent.

“We expect to receive a recommendation from the committee next week, and once all the formalities are approved, we will go ahead with the opening of the pet market,” said Ebrahim.