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Pet shops: the cause for dog abandonment in Dubai

Abandoned dog

By Florence Pilkington

August 25, 2014 5:23 by



Numerous pet shops are popping up around Dubai but maybe too much of something has become a bad thing.

“We had one family come in this year where they had the dog for three days. They had bought the dog from a pet shop and loved the idea of it, but three days later, they realised that they were out of their depth,” says Alister Milne, one of the many volunteers at K9 Friends.

Unfortunately, this situation is no longer uncommon in Dubai.

Allowing residents of the city to just walk into a pet shop and ‘pick up’ whatever pet they would like may not have been the best idea.

To test this ‘hypothesis’, we called a number of pet shops around the city, only to have our speculations confirmed – You need no documents to purchase a pet in Dubai, just money. “Just come, pick a dog and take it,” one pet shop told me over the phone.

Pet shops are supposed to be the places that care for and nurture animals, but they have now become a profit-centric industry with no regard for the animals or their after-care.

Maybe the regulations for purchasing a pet need to be re-evaluated, not allowing just anyone to take home a living creature, but someone who can prove that they are eligible to live with a dog and understands the responsibility expected of a pet owner.

“Unfortunately, dog abandonment is a fairly constant problem,” explains Milne. “This summer has been very bad, normally, our waiting list is anywhere between 30 and 40 dogs, but this year, the waiting list of dogs has just gone over 100, triple the normal amount.”

K9 Friends, which normally can house no more than 120 dogs, currently has 140, proving that the city has a serious pet abandonment problem.

“In Dubai, there is an ever-increasing number of pet shops opening. For example, there is a pet shop now in Dubai Mall, and people are getting the wrong message about getting a dog. They are not thinking about the long-term aspect and the long lifespan of the dog,” Milne points out.

Pets have become a ‘hot commodity’ in Dubai and more pet shops already set to open around the city, including one in Mercato Shopping Mall in the next coming months.

“Within the last six months; we also had one family who had a dog for 10 days and one for two weeks. People are getting dogs and have not done enough research or have not prepared themselves for what is involved with a dog,” explained Milne.

Although the pet shop business in Dubai may be booming, with more than four pet shops open in JLT alone, so are animal rescue organisations like K9 Friends, Dubai Animal Welfare Society and SNIFF, proving that there is a major issue in the cosmopolitan city, and pet shops, without a doubt, are a contributing factor.



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