No entry. Pet owners, from left, Merhi, Jelena Sharma and Miyuki Shimizu, were not allowed inside Metro link Image Credit: Clint Egbert/XPRESS

DUBAI Pet owners living in Dubai Marina are urging the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to let them take their pets in the Metro link at the Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) station.

The pedestrian bridge connecting the two communities -- Dubai Marina and JLT - is a convenient way for pet owners to get to the other side to walk their dogs. However, a pet owner who tried to enter the bridge with his dog last week said he was refused entry by the police.

“I was carrying my dog in my hand and requested the police to let me in, but he refused saying pets were not allowed inside. I had to take my car to JLT just to walk my pet,” said Eli Abu Merhi who has a 17-month-old American Cocker Spaniel.

Banned pets

Merhi’s predicament is part of a bigger issue that Marina pet-owners face every day. “We don’t have a place to walk our pets in the Marina. The Marina promenade is out of bounds as Emaar has banned pets here. The Jebel Ali Beach where we used to take our pets before has now been closed. We cannot take our dogs to JBR beach or any of the coffee shops. What do we do then? Where do we go with our dogs?” asked Merhi.

Turkish expatriate Hanim Pauguy also urged RTA to let pets inside the Metro link. “It is very restrictive for pet-owners in Dubai Marina. We simply don’t have enough places to walk our dogs. The JLT promenade is a good place to go but what’s the point if we have to take our car out to JLT just to walk our pet?” she asked.

Angry pet-owners also urged Emaar to add facilities for dogs in the Marina area. “Emaar takes pride that Dubai Marina has 200 restaurants, seven kilometres of landscape and public walk-ways. But there’s no dedicated space for dogs and pets. If you build a community then you have to think about all aspects of the community and pets are a part of the Marina community,” said Merhi.

Dog owner Erica Manssour said she is now forced to walk her pet on the busy streets of Dubai Marina.

“It is not the best thing to do considering the traffic on the roads. But what other choice do I have? On one hand Dubai goes into overdrive to sell pets and then they don’t make enough facilities for them. What do we do then?” she asked.

This July, Emaar banned dogs on the Marina promenade citing hygienic reasons. The move sparked a social media campaign, including an online petition, with nearly 2,000 residents asking the developer to reconsider the ban.

“Some of us continue to walk our pets here as there are no other places we can take them. Residents are doing their bit to ensure they clean up after their dog. We walk our dogs with a disinfectant bottle and water in hand,” said Erica.