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Dubai United Arab Emirates....


Don’t they have a dog’s chance?
By Joy Sengupta and Zoe Sinclair (Our staff reporters)

29 November 2007


DUBAI — K9 Friends are being bombarded with phone calls from dog owners panicking after seeing a notice stating the Dubai Municipality will confiscate 16 breeds of dogs from January 1, 2008.

The list includes the American Pit Bull Terrier and other dogs historically used for fighting, but also the Shar Pei, Husky and Doberman while omitting the German Shepherd.

A Dubai Mun! icipality official said these breeds had been studied and found to be aggressive dogs.

The notice states, “Dubai Municipality will confiscate dogs listed below after the lapse of a grace period, and any dog that causes harm and poses a threat to people, animals, and will deal with them as per municipality rules and regulations.”

K9 Friends chairperson Jackie Ratcliffe said the notice had been posted at Park ’n’ Shop and The Lakes for the past week but was published in the newspapers only yesterday. “It’s come out of the blue with no warning, no notice,” Ratcliffe said. “People are worried. It’s not clear what it means.”

Ratcliffe questioned what “deal with them” meant and said dog owners feared their pets would be taken away from their homes and put down.

“One woman has four Dobermans. “If they think they’re taking them — I’ll leave the country’,” Ratcliffe said.

The notice also asked pet owners to keep the dogs on a leash on public streets and beaches and not to walk them without masks.

It reads that the owners shall be responsible for any damage resulting from their non-compliance with the Local Order No. 11 of 2003.

Ratcliffe, herself the owner of a Pit Bull for 14 years, said dogs reflected the nature they were brought up under and should not be stereotyped by breed.

However, the notice begins under the premise of protecting the public from “animal related diseases”.

Ratcliffe said she had worked with dogs for more than 30 years, including 15 years in Dubai with K9 Friends, without contracting a disease and did not believe it was a pressing concern.

She also said there had not been any! bar on pet owners bringing dogs into the country.

“A woman has just been stamped last week to bring in a Staffordshire terrier,” she said.

Ratcliffe expected concerns would grow as more dog owners became aware of the notice and until the notice was clarified.

The Dubai Municipality officials said that they would be fining the owners of these species of dogs if they were found in the residential areas, public places, markets and the shopping centres from January 1.

As Hisham Fahmi, Head of the Veterinary Section at the Dubai Municipality, said, “These species of dogs are the aggressive ones which pose a risk to the people.

These dogs will not be allowed in the public areas. The other species of dogs have to follow the DM’s directive of proper registration, frequent medical check-ups and vaccination,” he said.

“The municipality will also fine owners of these 16 varieties if they are found flouting the norms after January 1.

“We have not decided on the fines,’’ he said.



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