Monday, January 05, 2015

Complaints, Not Patrols To Trigger Action On Dogs

Complaints, Not Patrols To Trigger Action On Dogs
Arab Times, 5 January 2014

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 4: Dog owners expressed outrage and concern at the news report that wild animals and dogs are banned from public spaces like parks, beaches and promenades. Major General Abdul Fatah Al Ali ordered Directors and Heads of security in six provinces to track down persons, residents and citizens, who accompany wild animals in public parks and frighten visitors and passersby, as reported by Al Anba newspaper, last week. Instructions have been given to security heads to deal with complaints in this regard and deliver these animals to concerned authorities.

The security chiefs of Hawally, Mubarak Al Kabeer and the Capital governorate responded and translated the instructions, launching surprise campaigns in which three individuals were arrested last week for possession of wild animals and referred to the police station.  An official from the Ministry of Interior confirmed to the Arab Times the directive, and stated that they had started bringing in individuals that take dogs for walks in public places. He stated that this will most likely be enforced in response to specific complaints rather than daily patrols. But he clarified that if the dog was determined to be docile and showed no signs of aggression during investigations, they might let it go. He revealed that the reason for this act is the huge number of calls and complaints the MoI has received from individuals reporting that some young people scare others with their menacing dogs.

The directive is targeted towards curbing the dangerous prevalence of wild and exotic animals, especially big cats, as ‘luxury pets’ in the country. While the ownership of wild and exotic animals has always been illegal in Kuwait, the issue came to the fore with the tragic death of a Filipino woman who was mauled by her employer’s pet lion. Since then, lawmakers have pushed for a ban on wild animal trade, and suggested that violators be jailed for six months or fined KD 20,000, or both. Recently, several Municipal Council members condemned the phenomenon of breeding wild animals inside private residential houses, and asked for deterrent laws banning the practice.

Speaking to the Arab Times, a local dog trainer whose income solely depends on training dogs, said that this move by the MoI is similar to a directive it issued some years ago listings breeds of dogs that were banned in Kuwait. Like that last directive, he believes that this one is not going to hold and that it is going to cause more harm than good. He shared that walking is an essential need in any dog’s life and is going to be restricted by this new action, resulting in numerous negative behavioural impacts, including aggression, which is claimed to be the main reason of this decision.

He also revealed that an overwhelming number of dog owners had been contacting him since the news broke, asking for advice on what are they supposed to do with their dogs, and he noted that instead of banning the practice as a whole the ministry should have taken a smaller step and approach the matter with more understanding, for the dog owner community in Kuwait is not as small as people think.

 By Arab Times Staff

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