Why all dogs should be banned from the UAE


You're cute, dog, but you still gotta go...

You’re cute, dog, but you still gotta go…

Some idiot wrote a comment piece suggesting the recent ban on dogs in Dubai Marina was a good idea.

I’d say this doesn’t go far enough. I say, ban all dogs from the UAE – completely.

This isn’t a new thought. In my eight years living in Dubai, I came to the irreversible conclusion that a total dog ban, or at least massive dog regulation, was the only sensible policy.

Don’t get me wrong – I vehemently disagree with almost every reason that moron gives in her comment piece (all of which basically amount to “I don’t like this, so it shouldn’t be allowed”). The sentiments behind the piece are entirely self-serving, and rather obnoxious.

No – I’d ban dogs for the sake of dogs.

The UAE is not renowned for its love of dogs. It does have a national dog, of sorts – the saluki – but by and large the national culture is not favourably disposed to our canine companions, for a number of cultural and religious reasons.

At the same time, it’s pretty easy to buy or acquire a dog in the UAE, thanks to its laissez-faire approach to the subject. Many pet shops are full of cages of puppies (and other animals), often clearly mistreated, and desperate to be rescued.

Unfortunately, the UAE is probably one of the very worst countries in the world in which to own a dog. Aside from all the cultural issues – and the resulting restrictions on dog-walking areas and so on – it’s blisteringly hot in the summer, and many people live in cramped accommodation, often in the form of flats or apartments.

Between the lack of regulation, the difficult conditions, and the on-going perceived cuteness of dogs (particularly puppies), the result is a lot of dogs being bought by people who have no idea how to care for them, and who are in no way equipped to deal with the reality of dog ownership.

And the result of that is a lot of dogs ending up miserable, abandoned, or dead.

Sucks for the dogs, right? The alternative is not to allow them into the country, or at least severely restrict dog ownership.

Here’s how I’d do it:

  1. Ban the commercial sale of dogs in the UAE.
  2. Require dog owners to obtain a licence, renewable annually, requirements for which include proof of acceptable residence, regular vets’ reports, vaccination certificates, and, say, a Dhs3,000 fee – this would apply to anyone bring their pets in from abroad, for example, or acquiring them from someone else in the country.
  3. For existing dog owners, some of these requirements can be relaxed, or fees reduced – otherwise there’s a potential for a doggy holocaust.
  4. Adoptions from dog shelters should be encouraged, with substantially lower fees which go directly to the shelter.
  5. Apply massive, swingeing fines to anyone found without a licence.

Under this system, you have to really, really want a dog – if you’re prepared to put that much effort and money into sorting out the paperwork, chances are you’ll probably care for the dog properly.

At a stroke, you’d eliminate all those impulse-buys of cute puppies for the kids – or, as with one dog my housemates and I cared for briefly, cute puppies as a desperate last-ditch relationship-saving gambit.

And everyone’s a winner: people don’t end up with dogs they can’t look after, the government gets to make lots of money from fees and fines – and, most importantly, the dogs don’t have to suffer any more.

So that’s how to deal with dogs in the UAE.

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