Dr Fatima Salah Al Ali takes care of the rescued husky at the municipality’s shelter on Monday. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Pet owners have been warned against leaving their pets outside in the summer heat after a dog locked out in a balcony came to light over the weekend, with authorities stepping in to rescue the pet in Dubai.

The swift rescue of the Husky was accomplished by Dubai Municipality and Dubai Police after a video of the dog posted by the Stray Dogs Centre (SDC), a shelter based in Umm Al Quwain, went viral on Sunday. The rescue came in for high praise from some members of royal families.

A supporter of the shelter sent the video of the dog in an apartment in Dubai Creek area. “We were told security had approached the owner to no avail. It was then that we decided to turn to social media to gain support,” said Amirah William, founder of Stray Dogs Centre.

The Husky that was rescued from the summer heat from an apartment balcony in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Viral video

The video showing the plight of the dog with its faeces scattered around it went viral with thousands of views and hundreds of comments and shares.

A volunteer went to the building to see if she could reason with the owner, however no one was home. “We then contacted the municipality who dispatched an animal welfare officer to the building. Unable to get a response from the apartment, the police was called in,” said William.

Dr Fatimah Salah Al Ali, a veterinarian with Dubai Municipality’s Veterinary Services Section, who is handling the case, said the municipality had called the police as initial reports said the owner was at home and not responding.

“But there was none at home and our team had to wait for about four hours for the family to return. We questioned the owner and she surrendered the dog,” Dr Al Ali explained to Gulf News on Monday.

Royal family members, including Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmed Al Maktoum, praised the municipality, police and the shelter for rescuing the dog. Sheikha Madiya Bint Hasher Bin Manaa Al Maktoum was also in touch, offering support, confirmed William. She added that the video was taken down after the dog was rescued.

Out for 24 hours

The female dog is currently at the municipality’s shelter. “She is under our care now. She was brought here last night and was given food and water. She was a bit tired and thirsty. She is happy and fine now,” said Dr Al Ali.

According to the owner, she said, the dog was left in the balcony the night before. “So she was out for approximately 24 hours. It was so shocking.”

Primarily found in polar regions and used as sled dogs, huskies are more prone to suffer heat strokes.

The municipality team checked the dog for heat stroke and also conducted tests for viral diseases.

“Thank God, there is no sign of heat stroke. We are waiting for the reports of other tests,” said Dr Al Ali.

Committee formed

A committee has been formed to investigate the case and take necessary action. “We are evaluating all aspects of the case,” said Dr Ali.

She said: “The dog doesn’t have a passport. She is not vaccinated or chipped. We need to know how the owner got the dog and the reasons for keeping the pet out.”

Animal welfare rules stipulate penalties for all these violations. Action will be taken once the committee finishes its evaluation of the case.

“In order to evaluate the penalty, we have to put everything into consideration. Right now, we are very heavily involved with the health of the dog. We are making sure she is healthy and not experiencing any trauma. We are observing her behaviour.”

Asked if the Husky would be put up for adoption, she said: “We are strict with adoption of dogs with unknown history. We need to evaluate her mentally, physically and emotionally. For now, she looks like a good girl. She is eating well. She is playing and active. She doesn’t look like she has signs of any disease. In the next few days, we will have a clear picture about her future.”

Warning for owners

Dr Al Ali warned pet owners against leaving their pets outside or in unhealthy and unhygienic environments.

“No creature should be left in this heat,” she said.

“We cannot handle the heat, how about these animals then? They cannot speak. They depend on us to give them proper environment, food and care. These are basic responsibilities. If you have a pet, you need to treat it like your family member, nothing else. This is like your child.”

“If you are not able to take care of your animals financially or for any other reasons, do let us know. We can put it up for adoption and give it a good home,” she urged pet owners.

She said the municipality puts utmost focus on animal welfare. “It comes above everything else. We are up to date with all international welfare rules and standards.”

The municipality has 24x7 patrol cars for attending to animal-related reports. “We work even on weekends and at night. Yesterday was a weekend evening but our team was at the house in 30 minutes. I saw the video and called my people. They had already got the report and they were on the way already.”

Report animal abuse

The official also asked residents to report if they find any animal abuse. Residents can contact the municipality through its call centre 800900 or its app.

“If anybody is doing anything wrong with animals and not treating them well, please do report. Keeping it in the heat or not giving it proper nutrition—we take all these very seriously. Our leaders are animal lovers themselves. They won’t be happy if animals are not treated well,” said Dr Al Ali.

William also expressed her happiness over the fact that the royal family member are animal welfare advocates and supporters of animal rescue efforts. “Any violation of animal welfare laws is not looked upon lightly.”

Urging pet owners to be compassionate, she added: “If you cannot show compassion and humanity towards pets, then it is better not to have a pet... If you cannot provide a suitable environment for your pet, then please surrender it to a rescue organisation.”