Unfortunately, we often see photos of abused animals rescued by different rescue groups and individuals in Qatar. It's heartbreaking, cruel, and you wonder how this can happen. The ILoveQatar team decided to work on this article to raise awareness and hope this to end.
Disclaimer: Some names in the article have been changed to protect the identity of the persons. Also, please be aware of disturbing images.
In October, the ILQ team received pictures of dogs trapped in Mesaieed. We reached out to a few residents to ask them about the situation and how long has this been going on.
Anne (not her real name), one of the residents, said she found out about a particular dog pack in September 2020. She saw traps being set up in three different instances, and she was able to rescue a puppy one time; however, she lost 2 puppies and 3 dogs to the traps. She was able to notice this as she feeds the stray dogs.
Anne also added that the traps are set by a pest control company, which aren't monitored and have no definite collection days. We also asked 'Anne' if she had any idea why these traps are set up, and she replied that it might be from complaints of fellow residents about the dogs' noise and their aggressiveness, which may be because they were abused and starved.
In November, a video and photos posted on social media, two dogs were shown to be lying on the ground. Both of the dogs were 2 Salukis still with collars. One was shot in the chest, the other in the head.
Our followers tagged us on the posts asking for help to create awareness to stop such incidents. We reached out to Mary (not her real name), an animal rescuer who knows about this situation.
She said she received a message from one of the Qatari rescuers late on November 17th evening that there was a shooting around 5:30 pm at Umm Salal Mohammed area. Mary went to the area, hoping to find the dogs and take them to the vet if possible, only to realize it was too late.
She also mentioned that neighborhood residents who talked to her mentioned that they saw a GMC 4x4 drove into the dogs after shooting them. Mary reported this matter to the police the following day.
On November 28, the ILQ team received a message regarding a rescued dog in a terrible condition. The dog (Bernie) had burns in between his legs, and his throat was slit open.
According to Alessandra from Parkview Pet Centre, the clinic where the dog was brought for medical attention, Bernie was rescued by Nasser Al Kubaisi of Second Chance Rescue. The dog was found in a remote area where many farms are located. Nasser was contacted over IG.
The clinic managed to reconnect his trachea to the larynx, and he has since had a second surgery. He's now recovering, but the recovery period will be a long one.
Alessandra also mentioned that they had received another dog shot in the head and with the whole body full of bullets.
In light of these recent cases, we asked animal welfare groups/individuals if these incidents have happened before or if there's a rise in animal abuse cases in the country.
"We don't believe the number of animals being abused is necessarily increasing. However, it is becoming much more visible as many more people are posting on social media to highlight the issues and raise awareness of what is happening. The numbers of animals on the streets are definitely increasing, not just due to pets being abandoned but also thanks to so many unneutered strays breeding prolifically. This increase in number is forcing them more and more into residential areas as they look for food and safe spaces to live," said the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS).
However, Mary told us that "over the last 2 to 3 years we have seen a dramatic increase as a rescue community of dogs being shot and even more so these past 6 months. Various people have reported these to the police."
"Individuals are seen as the main culprits; it seems they are almost doing this as a sport or recreation," she added.
Law no. 9 of 1974 is Qatar's law on the abandoning and neglect of animals. [ARABIC l ENGLISH] The law, which was amended in 1994 (Law No. 3 of 1994), states that those who abandon and neglect animals shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding two weeks and a fine of not less than two hundred riyals and not exceeding one thousand riyals, or one of these two penalties.
Law No. 11 of 2004 Issuing the Penal Code contains three articles on crimes committed against animals. Article 394 states that whoever intentionally kills bees or any domestic animals of a third party shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and/or a fine not exceeding two thousand (QR 2000) Riyals or any of the more severe punishments stipulated in the preceding Article.
Also, Article 395 states that whoever commits the following acts shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months and/or a fine not exceeding one thousand (QR 1000) Riyals:
While there are laws, the penalties are deemed too light and not a deterrent to preventing such crimes.
"People who are caught abusing animals and this sort of behavior, as per the well-publicized abuse case - they were asked to sign a note saying they would never do it again. There is a law in place to prevent animal cruelty. However, this law is ignored, unknown, or not applied. There is a reluctance to address any issues regarding animal cruelty, unlike the rest of the world, where the laws are applied with a lot more vigor. So the dogs have a degree of protection if roaming free on the streets," she added.
Qatar Animal Welfare Society also said:
"Sadly, animal abuse happens all over the world, one of the major differences is that in Qatar, there is very little (or no) tolerance for the stray animals; they aren’t seen as another living thing that feels pain, hunger, and fear. Secondly, there is no accountability for the people that hurt or abuse them; there is no prosecution, no sentencing, and so it isn’t regarded as a crime or the wrong thing to do."
Based on different interviews we gathered from different people, the below points were proposed to make Qatar a better place for the animals who are living with us.
We reached out to the Ministry of Municipality and Environment for the responses on November 29, but have not heard back yet.
We, as a community, must work together with the relevant authorities to make Qatar a safe place to live, not just for humans but also for animals. The ILQ team stands by the welfare of all living creatures.
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