Number of Abandoned Animals Goes up With Temperature

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
August 15, 2018

Every year hundreds of cats and dogs are found on the streets and industrial areas of the Emirates.

There is an apparent spike in the summer months, leaving shelters and rescuers overwhelmed. And this year is no different:

“The numbers increase in the summer, massively increase in the summer, because first of all people travel on vacations or they just relocate, they leave the country for good and they don’t have a backup plan. So the main reason might be financial because they cannot afford relocation or when they travel on vacation they just don’t have a plan for their pet,” says Samah Dyia, a member of the Protection of Animal Rights Association (PARA).

The Emirati non-profit organization was established by four women who decided to take matters into their own hands when they saw the number of abandoned animals increasing.

They rescue cats and dogs, neuter and spay them, vaccinate them and then look for homes for them. While waiting for adoption, the animals are housed with foster families or at local animal boarding facilities.

The members will even foster cats in their own homes when there’s no space in shelters.

This year, finding a new home for the cats and dogs is proving to be difficult due to the high number of animals in need of a place.

Bringing them Together

In an effort to find some of the animals new homes an adoption day for dogs is being held. By bringing together people who want a dog with dogs who need a home it is hoped some of the abandoned animals will be rehoused.

Founder of Amanda’s Animal Rescue, Amanda Stevens, says the rate of animal abandonment has increased this summer.

Founder of Amanda's Animal Rescue, Amanda Stevens.
Founder of Amanda’s Animal Rescue, Amanda Stevens. (AP/Screenshot)

“This summer has been really really bad because a lot of people are losing their jobs, because of which a lot of people are abandoning their pets. Some people have a change because they’ve lost their previous job they get another job they get any job and then they can’t cope with keeping up their pet as well. So then they want to give up their pet as well. And then again the whole summer is really, really bad because people don’t want to pay for boarding and board their dogs and they think an easier way is just give up on the dog and then get a dog whenever they’re back,” she says.

In Dubai, the adoption events happen on a weekly basis for dogs whose owners could not be located.

After a visit to the vet, quarantine when needed and efforts to contact the previous owner through microchip details, the dogs are put up for adoption.

Rescue organizations are now asking people to fill out an adoption form and go through a screening process and home visits before being able to take an animal home.

Stevens says it’s to ensure the pet will not end up back on the streets.

“With these dogs, when they get abandoned, there’s nobody there to take them and then there’s not a lot of rescue organizations who step in right away and take over dogs. I mean we don’t specifically do that because we have already a lot on our hands,” she says.

Miseducation and High Expenses

Rescue organisations say the pet abandonment problem is multi fold – owning a pet can rack up high bills in a country where pet insurance does not exist, vet bills are very high and boarding facilities are expensive, there’s a lack of shelters in the country and there is only one official rescue organisation – K9 Friends – plus the Dubai Municipality pound.

The animal charity organizations are not funded by the government and, as per the UAE law, they are not allowed to raise funds. They therefore depend on volunteers, donations, and a small adoption fee that goes towards vet and boarding bills.

Although cats and dogs are abandoned in countries across the globe, one thing that sets the UAE apart is that they’re not just Arabian mixes and mutts that are found looking for homes.

Many pure bed dogs are also abandoned including Huskies, German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Dalmatians, Japanese Akita and Persian cats.

Miseducation is also a contributing factor to the abandonment of animals, as PARA member Suha Omar explains.

Members of Amanda's Animal Rescue.
Members of Amanda’s Animal Rescue. (AP/Screenshot)

“What we need basically is more of a get together, people to get together for the cause, to help the animals. (We need) more education, more awareness about the fact that animals are not bad, dogs are.. actually it’s okay to have a dog. What do I do if I’m leaving for summer? What are the facilities that I have? What do I do if for whatever reason I’m leaving the country? So I need to work on a plan that I have to relocate my cat or a dog,” she says.

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