Dog fights for survival after shooting in Umm Al Quwain

At least three dogs have been shot in Umm Al Quwain so far this year

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A dog named Peace is fighting for his life after being riddled with 50 pellets during a vicious attack in Umm Al Quwain.

It is the third such incident in the emirate in three months.

Peace was shot in the chest, body and legs at the weekend and is now recovering after emergency surgery.

Workers in the industrial zone found the injured dog after hearing gunshots. They saw a car driving away quickly but were unable to record the licence plate number.

The Stray Dogs Centre UAQ is fund-raising for Peace’s operations and treatment.

“Over the six years that we’ve been in operation we’ve had 10 dogs that have been shot and multiple cases of horrific abuse as well,” said Amirah William, the centre’s founder. “We report every incident that happens to the authorities but it doesn’t go very far.”

Ms William believes animal abuse in the emirate has worsened, despite more stringent federal animal protection laws. Tougher punishments for animal abuse and the illegal breeding and sale of animals came into force in July 2017.

“It’s a serious issue that nobody is taking seriously,” she said. “Here in Umm Al Quwain it’s just words, the laws are not enforced at all.”

Ms William reported the case to the UAQ General Police Headquarters by phone on Friday, and prior cases of abuse were reported at the Salama Police Station.

“The case is under investigation,” confirmed a spokesperson for the Umm Al Quwain Police.

The first dog, named Faith, was shot in the industrial zone two and a half months ago. Faith was paralysed after the bullet travelled up her spine.

A second dog, Serenity, was shot in her spine in an urban area. She too survived.

“The fact that the three incidents are so close together is really worrying for us,” said Ms William. “Definitely I would say the shootings in the industrial area are related.”

It is not the first attack on animals cared for by an animal welfare group. In March 2015, a gang of unknown gunman shot 10 donkeys at an animal sanctuary. The carcasses were removed by a lorry and crane in a planned operation and were, it was suspected, used as meat for an illegal tiger farm. A dog named Lara was also shot dead in the same attack. Barbara Carstens, one of the managers of the Animal Welfare Project, told The National it was a scene of "pure devastation".

At the time, the Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, Sheikh Saud bin Rashid, responded by granting The Animal Welfare Project 90,000 square metres of land. It was hoped the land would be a haven for the emirate's animals.

On Monday, Ms Williams called on people to take action if they suspect animal abuse.

Peace will undergo another operation in the coming days to remove more bullets but those lodged deep in the chest and body will never be removed.

The Stray Dogs Center UAQ relies on donations of about Dh30,000 a month to feed and care for homeless and injured dogs.

“We’re actually really lucky because any time we’ve had any of these cases, people donate for the treatment of the dog,” said Ms William. “It’s not just shooting. We had a dog that was slashed across the face with a machete and we had a dog used as a bait dog. I think the cases of abuse here are so horrific, it really tugs on people’s heartstrings.”