New laws make it illegal to abandon pets in the UAE

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People who abandon their pets in the UAE could now face legal punishments.

New regulations announced by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, (MOCCAE) make clear the responsibilities of animal owners.

Amendments to 2007 federal laws on animal welfare say that animal owners must assume full responsibility for the animals that depend on them to survive, and not abandon them under any circumstances. Should they no longer wish to keep the animals, they must hand them over to the relevant authorities.

Animal owners also must give them proper shelter, feed, and specialised vet care.

Saif Mohammed Al Shara, representing the Sustainable Communities Sector and the Food Diversity Sector at MOCCAE, says: “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.”

Nine articles on animals owners, animal facilities, animal nutrition and loading, transporting, and unloading animals make up the new regulations. Failing to comply with them is now classed as an act of animal cruelty.

As well as protecting pets, legislation also covers humane slaughter and using animals “in a way that goes against their nature in art and entertainment performances, in pranks, or in staged animal fights.” The use of electric cattle prods and sharp tools is also banned.

In late 2016, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has issued a decree penalising animal cruelty by up to a year in prison or a fine of AED 200,000.

Federal Law 18 punishes people found guilty of causing harm, suffering, discomfort, mistreatment or any form of physical harm to animals. Laws announced in 2017 also ban the private ownership of wild animals in the UAE and orders dog owners to keep their pets on a leash.

Finally, selling pets without a licence is also a criminal offence in the UAE – another great reason not to buy animals!

Thinking of adding a furry friend to your home?

Thousands of animals in Dubai are looking for homes. Here’s how you can adopt one, or two, or three…but remember, they’re for life!

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