Pet dumping in Dubai is a severe, ongoing problem, one which is constantly causing strain on animal welfare groups
31 July 2018| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Every year, animal welfare groups are tasked with rescuing and finding new homes for dogs, cats and other pets that have been abandoned by their owners in Dubai.
Every year, more and more pets – particularly dogs and cats – are left on the streets, in garbage cans, in empty villas and even sometimes at kennels and vets. Left by their owners who can no longer provide a home and a family to these animals.
And every year, hundreds of pets are left heartbroken, scared and alone, hoping that their family will return for them.
But why is this the case? Why are SO many cats and dogs stripped of their home comforts, and why is it a common occurrence in Dubai?
First of all, we should simply state: dumping your pet in Dubai is absolutely NOT acceptable.
In fact, it’s against the law.
Nonetheless, despite the fines in place that aims to prevent pet dumping, and despite the ongoing efforts of animal rescue groups like K9 Friends, Stray Dogs Center UAQ, SNIFF and Animal Action UAE to name a few, hundreds of dogs and cats are left homeless because of reckless decisions made by individuals living here.
Why is there so many dumped dogs in Dubai?
Expatriates constitute 90% of the population in Dubai, and when families and individuals move from the emirate, they often leave everything behind – including their ‘temporary pets’.
Any expat living in Dubai will very well know the transient mentality that comes with living here; and sadly, this unprepared state results in hundreds, if not thousands, of animals regularly being surrendered or dumped because the owner(s) have not planned ahead.
Too often, excuses like ‘we can’t afford to take him’, or simply ‘we don’t want her anymore’ are given when careless owners are confronted.
Some will even go as far as saying they can’t afford the animal’s medical bills, if an issue arises, and so instead they find the solution is to abandon their pet. Another reason often heard for pet dumping in Dubai is because residents who travel over summer may try to avoid paying the costs of boarding.
Why is there an increase in abandoned pets during Dubai’s summer?
Quite literally, because families leave. Life in Dubai is cyclical – expats arrive around August to September time, mainly because families moving here aim to be settled before the academic year begins.
Others then leave around May to June time – just as schools end, and the summer heat arrives. Families take advantage of the long school holidays in Dubai, to either relocate or return to their home countries.
What is the penalty for dumping your pet in Dubai?
What individuals who choose to dump their pet(s) don’t realise is that their animals are domesticated. A family dog or cat will find it extremely difficult to survive on the streets, or in the desert.
Before inviting any animal into your home – every pet owner should be very aware of the rules and regulations in place to ensure that safety and care is provided for that dog or cat.
Nonetheless, despite the regulations in place, the issue still persists year on year.
The law states that any owner who is found to have abandoned their dog in Dubai and the UAE will be contacted, and must collect the animal upon payment of AED 500. If they fail to show and pay the fine, the dog will be confiscated.
Of course, the above works only if the dog is microchipped and registered correctly. If a dog is unregistered, it’s extremely difficult to trace the previous owner.
Arguably, AED 500 isn’t enough punishment for those who dump their pets in Dubai. Many animal lovers, dog owners and rescue organisations in the emirate call for harsher penalties on those who choose to strip their pets of a home, and their family.
And what happens when the owners have already left the country?
Rescue organisation are left scrambling for support, funds and space to accommodate the countless lives that are carelessly thrown out and left behind.
Dumping your dog or pet in Dubai is inexcusable
As animal welfare groups continue to help the increasing numbers of dogs and cats abandoned in Dubai, we encourage any pet owner here to think carefully about what they’ll do with their pets… Even in the worst-case scenario of a redundancy, debt or relocation.
Pet owners in Dubai need to have a backup plan, to ensure that their dog or cat are not left alone.
If, for whatever reason, it is entirely IMPOSSIBLE to keep your dog – and you have exhausted all possible options – then, we would recommend getting in touch with one of the amazing rescue organisations in Dubai that can work with you to help find a suitable home.
Do NOT just DUMP them on the streets.
After all, they’re a member of your family – and not an object to dispose of.