Donkeys and dogs at haven shot dead and by unknown gunmen

Gang in UAQ posing as policemen shoot 10 donkeys and a dog and take the carcasses as 'meat for illegal tiger farm'.

UMM AL QUWAIN // Ten donkeys at an area where animals had been saved from starvation have been slaughtered by unknown gunmen.
The carcasses were taken away to be used, it was suspected, as meat for an illegal tiger farm.
The Animal Welfare Project (AWP) in Umm Al Quwain, run by Dr Louise Mitchell, from Britain, and Barbara Carstens, from Germany, regularly feeds as many as 200 stray dogs, donkeys and goats on wasteland near the New Industrial Area.
On a routine feeding session last week, project volunteers were horrified to find 10 donkeys and a dog had been shot dead.
Workers who were at the scene were reluctant to speak out, but they told project volunteers what they had seen.
"We arrived at a feeding area for the donkeys and dogs to be met with a scene of pure devastation," said Ms Carstens.
"We found one of our beautiful dogs, Lara, shot. Our worker friends were too terrified to even speak to us.
"Eventually they talked and we discovered our beautiful family of 10 donkeys were also murdered. Two cars, a truck and a crane arrived at the site in a clearly devised operation."
Two workers who spoke Bengali were with the armed group of men, who posed as CID officers and allegedly threatened witnesses if they spoke out.
The workers near by saw the men hunting the donkeys in two cars, firing several shots at the animals before loading their carcasses on to the lorry.
"We have been informed by a reliable source that these poor donkeys were hunted illegally for a tiger farm. That is also illegal," said Ms Carstens.
"One of the donkeys was pregnant and another was just six months old."
The AWP has been in meetings with authorities in UAQ this week to ascertain what happened.
The incident was followed by a second shooting on Wednesday. On that occasion three desert dogs were shot. One died, but the other two survived. Both dogs had been shot three times.
"After five hours of searching, Neo and Charlie [the dogs] eventually came to us. Both were very weary and crying in pain," said Ms Carstens.
"We have spoken with more than 100 workers to find out if they saw anything."
Dr Harvey Cruz, a vet who treated the dogs at the Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre, said it was difficult to know the motive for the attacks.
"Maybe it was because the animals had been considered a nuisance or, more likely, just for fun," he said.
"It was shocking to see. I had treated both of the dogs in the past and the donkeys the week before.
"Both dogs had bullet wounds with punctured skin and swelling, most likely from a high-powered air rifle. They were very distressed.
"Sadly, it is not uncommon, as I have treated cats who have been shot before. It is likely that they were shot by the same kind of weapon."
A spokesman for UAQ Police CID said no report of the incident had been received.
"Since the concerned party did not lodge a complaint at the police station, we cannot move and take any legal action," he said.
Citing the law, he said whoever premeditatedly and unjustifiably kills a riding, pulling or pack animal or cattle, or causes serious injury to any of them, is liable for a fine, imprisonment, or both.
The AWP is not an official charity, but it relies on animal food and cash donations to continue its work.
Donations can be made at the Blue Oasis Vet Clinic, in the Green Community, Dubai, or via PayPal at tawpuaq@gmail.com.
For more information on the project, visit the group's Facebook page.
nwebster@thenational.ae
* With additional reporting by Rezan Oueiti

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS