If you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have told you, perhaps a little smugly, that I lived in one of the most pet-friendly neighbourhoods in Dubai.
Jumeirah Village Triangle is not the fanciest or best equipped of the emirate’s villa communities. There are no communal pools or gyms, no Spinneys or Waitrose, and the landscaping is not particularly impressive or well maintained. But what it did have was a great community feel, lots of green spaces where I could walk my dogs and lots of other pooches that my pups could play with.
These are the reasons I moved here seven years ago and why, when I recently decided it was time to buy a property in Dubai, I concluded that this was the community for me. I have been excitedly viewing homes in “the Triangle” ever since.
And then, last Wednesday, I woke up to find the neighbourhood scattered with signs declaring that pets are now banned from all of the community’s green spaces.
There had been no warning or communication from the community’s developer, Nakheel.
That the decision was made at a time when pavements are baking hot and have the potential to seriously damage delicate paws is even more perplexing.
There are dedicated children’s play areas and tennis courts that should, of course, be dog-free zones. But the expansive parks that remain, for the most part, completely empty? Why shouldn’t they be used as a thoroughfare by dogs and their owners?
A first-world problem, perhaps. Non-dog-loving readers may be rolling their eyes. But Dubai is already an un-dog-friendly city. Pups are banned from most parks and beaches. To now be prevented from walking my dogs in the green spaces around my home seems a little unfair. I understand that there may be people in the community who don’t like dogs and who must be angered by the few irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after their four-legged friends – but there is plenty of space for all of us. The decision to ignore the needs of pet owners seems both one-sided and short-sighted.
A number of residents have written to request that a dedicated dog park be created in the neighbourhood. This is something that Emaar has done successfully in The Greens and Springs communities. It seems like a more reasonable approach than introducing a blanket ban in what has long been considered one of Dubai’s most pet-friendly communities. JVT should be using its pet-friendly feel as a USP – rather than joining the legions of other Dubai communities that are excluding pets and their owners.
Dogs that don’t get proper exercise become problematic. They voice their frustrations by barking or becoming increasingly unsettled, or, in some extreme instances, aggressive. It is not in anyone’s interests for JVT to be populated by a pack of unhappy pups.
It has also made me think twice about my plans to buy a property here. If the rules about dogs can change from one minute to the next, with no consultation with members of the community and no efforts to find a compromise that will appeal to the needs of all, what other surprises lie in wait? I am buying into a community because I like how it is now; but, clearly, anything can happen at any time to change that. For someone who is already conflicted about making such a significant investment, this is one more cause for concern. A dedicated dog park would go a long way in swinging my vote.