OIPA International started to raise awareness on how stray cats and dogs are considered in Dubai months ago, writing open letters to national and international institutions and lauching a petition worldwide, but since then the situation is not getting better unfortunately. Local authorities and international bodies seem not to listen and not to care, they just look the other way rather than taking responsibility and implementing ethical solutions to keep under control the overpopulation of strays, which continues to increase due to the high level of abandonment and the lack of sterilization activities.

The way in which stray dogs and cats are treated in Dubai, as well as the rest of UAE, has always been very bad and inhumane, but it has worsened in view of the Expo 2020 (from October 2021 until March 2022). Local authorities have decided to clean up their streets at the expense of animals in order to show the efficiency, luxury and wealth of the city to the rest of the world. Animals are not seen as sentient beings but a threat for communiy’s public health, safety and wellbeing.

Dubai’s streets are full of dumped, sick, injured and pregnant stray cats. The municipality, instead of helping them, pays pest control companies to make them disappear. Those animals are not considered living beings that deserve respect and a decent life, but simply a problem to eradicate. Cats and dogs are often cruelly killed: they are poisoned, while others are caught and abandoned in the desert starving to death with no food, water and in great suffering. A considerable number of strays, as well as family pets with plates, have already disappeared and no one found out where they had been placed or if they were still alive.

Residents and tourists are not allowed in Dubai to feed stray animals and it is forbidden to secure them medical care even if they urgently need it. Circulars affixed in many residential areas affirm that providing food and water to stray animals is strictly prohibited and those found doing it are severely fined and reported to higher authorities risking jail. The prohibition involves also local animal rescue groups and animal rights associations that are not authorized to help and take care of street animals following the suspension of their permissions.

But..there is a guy devoted to stray cats 

Although the risk of heavy fines and jail, in Dubai there is a guy who has been caring and feeding hundreds of stray cats for more than 20 years.

Fawaz  is an animal lover and when he moved to Dubai back in 1999 he couldn’t turn his back on the so many skinny, sick and neglected cats that were begging for food at each corner. He started to take as many cats as he could to the vet for treatment in order to help them and save their life. Fawaz underlines: “The situation has been like this since ages, sadly the authorities don’t really care about strays, same issue in Ajman and Sharjah. I have sadly to admit that many locals hate cats and consider them as “pests not pets” and they must eat from garbage only and don’t need to be fed. Dubai municipality doesn’t want to spend money and support a TNR program and unfortunately there is no animal shelter in Dubai.” – he continues: “My city is showing the world its worst face. It’s guilty of an horrific cruelty that no animal deserves. Dubai is a very rich land and it would be able to ethically solve the issue of stray dogs and cats in just a few seconds. There would be no problem for the Municipality to allocate some of the immense economical resources it has, and create a project of recovery, care, sterilization and vaccinations of strays. Dubai could also promote an educational programme for its citizens aimed to encourage strays conscious adoption, the importance of vaccination, treatment and sterilization, instead of choosing the worst and the most evil solution.

Fawaz operates every day in hiding, defying the Dubai police and he coordinates some good-hearted volunteers. This sweet guy says: “We arrive at night or during the day. Cats have learned to recognize us from the car. We usually visit them with a doctor, we give them food and water and we hospitalize those in need of care. The Covid emergency has also increased the number of stray dogs. There was a false report that pets could transmit the virus, so the frightened owners abandoned them. A madness that always feeds on ignorance and fear” – concludes Fawaz – “I will continue to help animals, no matter what will happen to me. They can’t be left alone. We always need support and donations to buy food, medications and to cover the endless vet bills and surgeries. There are still so many strays out there!”

Video Part 1

Video Part 2


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