Manama: Police in Kuwait are keeping a housemaid in custody after her employer threatened to punish her personally if no legal action was taken against her for killing his favourite pet dog.

The Kuwaiti told the police in his testimony that the helper sought to exact revenge on him by killing his Buji, “a much beloved pet that is immensely precious” to him. The complainant said that the helper should stand trial for the premeditated murder of the dog under the animal rights draft law endorsed by the Kuwaiti parliament in December.

The police confirmed that a hysterical Kuwaiti citizen accompanied by an Asian woman approached the station in Rumaithiya, south of the capital Kuwait City, and said that he was accusing her of killing his dog. 

The police added that the man, who was not named, said that the pet had lived with him for years and that the woman, appreciating its significance for the owner, killed it in an act of revenge. 

“My stance will depend on the action taken against the helper,” the man reportedly told the police. “If no case of premeditated murder is filed against her, I will take the law unto my own hand.”

A security source told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai that the police decided to keep the housemaid to protect her from the employer and ensure her safety.

“The police said they would consult with the competent authorities in the interior ministry to classify the case and asked the complainant to check with them later for the decision,” the source said, quoted by the daily on Wednesday. 

Kuwait’s lawmakers in December approved a draft law presented by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on animal rights and two other bills on criminalising the sale and possession of predators. 

The Animal Rights Draft Law set strict terms and conditions for keeping animals and required owners to provide suitable shelters and care for their pets. The bill also aimed to protect people from wild animals, particularly following numerous reports about attacks, deadly at times, on humans.

The law bans the possession, acquirement, and sale of wild animals as well as all forms of online sale advertisement.

However, the ban does not apply to the people or entities formally licenced by the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) to place wild animals in a licensed circus, zoo or any other similar venue.

Authorities in the GCC, comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have often warned against having non-domestic animals in their homes or in majlises.

Keeping predators and exotic pets at home has turned into a fashion statement among the young and rich who see rearing them as a status symbol.

The phenomenon has taken ominous proportions as the purchase of illegal wild animals has become easy, mainly through social media platforms where they are advertised.

Earlier this month, motorists in Qatar were shocked to see a tiger on the loose on a busy highway in the capital Doha. The confused animal that reportedly fell from the back of a lorry transporting it was eventually captured.  

In February, a Kuwaiti man was killed by a lioness he was attempting to train inside a recreational facility in Saudi Arabia.

The mauling was reported to the police in Hafr Al Baten in northern Saudi Arabia by the victim’s friend who requested urgent help. However, despite the efforts to save his life, the victim did not survive the attack and died at the hospital from injuries to his neck and thigh.

In December 2014, a Filipina housemaid was mauled by a lion kept by her employer.

Lourdes Hingco Abejuela died at a hospital in Kuwait days after she was attacked by the wild animal.

Her employer had initially claimed that the wounds were afflicted by a dog and the medical staff reportedly treated her, but failed to keep her under observation, allowing her to go home.

However, her situation deteriorated and she was taken again to hospital where she died.

Kuwaiti authorities apprehended the employer who admitted Lourdes had been mauled by a lion he kept at home.

In September 2013, a Kuwaiti man averted a possible tragedy when he succeeded in luring a runaway lion roaming the streets into his car before calling the police.