New regulations have been released in the UAE regarding animal welfare
13 December 2018| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Abandoned pets in the UAE is an ongoing issue, with welfare groups struggling to help the increasing population of homeless animals.
Penalties imposed have failed to decrease the problem so far, with residents who abandon their dogs previously facing only a AED 500 fine.
But now, thanks to a new change in legislation, residents who decide to dump their pet on the streets can suffer legal consequences - including time spent in jail.
Announced by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, these new executive regulations are made up of 9 articles, which outline the responsibilities of animal owners. It also clarifies what is expected in terms of health and technical standards of animal facilities in the country.
Residents who fail to abide by these new regulations will face legal punishment.
Commenting on the announcement, Saif Mohammed Al Shara, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Food Diversity Sector at MOCCAE, said, "The UAE is strongly committed to animal welfare, which holds significant value in our Islamic beliefs and culture.
"Our role at MOCCAE is to develop a legislative framework for animal protection and biodiversity preservation. The executive regulations for Federal Law No. 16 of 2007 on animal welfare and its amendments in Federal Law No. 18 of 2016 are in line with global animal welfare standards."
What the UAE law says on pet abandonment
As per WAM, article two of the regulations details the duties of animal owners in the UAE; including that they should assume full responsibility for the animals "that depend on them to survive."
Animals and pets should not be abandoned under any circumstances.
And residents who no longer wish to keep the animals in their possession must hand them over to relevant authorities, like one of the many amazing UAE rescue groups that work tireless across the country.
Any act that is considered as animal cruelty - such as abandonment, failing to provide shelter, food and vet care - could carry a fine or jail sentence.
Animal welfare regulations across the UAE
The new regulations also state that any animal owners in Dubai and the UAE - such as farmers or even rescue groups - who are responsible for a number of animals should hire a sufficient number of qualified personnel to look after the animals.
Records of the animals' genetic lineage, nutrition, health, productivity and daily routine must also be kept.
Acts such as failing to offer adequate nutrition, rest, shelter harming the animal physically or keeping it confined are punishable by law. The law also applies if they overwork draft animals without considering their age and health condition.
"Animal owners are also considered in violation of the law if they neglect to follow the rules of humane slaughter, or if they use animals in a way that goes against their nature in art and entertainment performances, in pranks, or in staged animal fights", WAM reports.
"In addition, they are banned from administering animals growth-promoting drugs and steroids, or adding illegal additives to their feed."
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Additionally, the regulations also stipulate the prohibited use of electroshock devices (cattle prods) and sharp tools when handling animals, as well as poking them in sensitive areas to get them to move.
Any organisation or company that is responsible for animals in the UAE must also adhere to the health and technical standards imposed; for barns, cages and stables, stating that they should be safe, sterile and of an adequate space for the species, gender, age, size and weight of the animals.
The regulation also confirms that animal owners must use approved methods to dispose of animal carcasses.