Late last week, a video circulated of a cat, dying of heat exhaustion in a glass cage at Sharjah Pet Market.
The story told of authorities springing to action, and fining the vendor responsible, AED3,000.
It was great to see the authorities so active and quick to respond to such a sad event, but did the punishment match the crime? And is this kind of penalty enough of a deterrent to these people?
Animal breeders and sellers can get thousands of dirhams per animal
So it’s chump change really – AED3,000. A breeder shared a sale post on some Facebook groups, for sale for AED1,500 per puppy – so at the sale of just two of these dogs, this person would have made the money back.
The implementation of these penalties is well executed – the UAE Police are fast-acting in instances where these offenses are reported.
Exotic animals can fetch fees above AED100,000
And there’s no regulation of how these animals are born, raised, or kept.
Exotic animals are illegal to own without approvals in the UAE, though there are some who flout these laws.
And the sale of domestic animals still requires a business licence.
When cases of animal cruelty went viral last year
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE stepped in, and issued a punishment in the form of community service at the Dubai Zoo. For four hours per day, for three months, men were required to clean the Dubai Zoo.
It was a fitting penalty for these men, who had filmed a live cat being fed to rottweiler dogs, and it was celebrated that the Ruler of Dubai stepped in and ensured justice was met.
It would be great to see more penalties like this issued to people who abuse or neglect animals
An increase in the fines, and potential jail time may issue more of a deterrent to these people.
And a better education and understanding of animals and their treatment wouldn’t go astray either.