Dubai pet shops closed down after spate of puppy deaths

Authority that oversees Jumeirah Lakes Towers has put notices of closure on the doors of the two shops, though a shop spokesman said they were only closed for renovations.

A Dubai resident purchased a miniature poodle from Petholics, such as the one pictured, but it became ill a few days later. Getty Images

DUBAI // Authorities have closed two pet shops in Dubai accused by animal lovers of selling puppies with deadly infections.

Notices on the shopfronts of the Pet House and Petholics say they have broken the rules of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, the licensing and regulatory body for the Jumeirah Lakes Towers free zone.

“The trade licences of Petholics and Pet House expired in December 2016. Neither of these stores have had their licences renewed and they remain closed for business,” an authority spokesman said.

Both shops are owned by Mohammed Wasal Khan, also known as Wasal Omer Khan. He was not available for comment, but has previously denied any wrongdoing. A shop spokesman said the two premises were being renovated and would reopen this month after an “exhaust system” had been fitted.

Several customers say they were sold underage puppies suffering from conditions such as canine distemper, a highly infectious and often fatal viral disease. Some of the puppies died, leaving owners heartbroken.

The shops have been fined several times after customer complaints. One woman who has has been working for the past 12 months to encourage official action against them said she did not believe they would be reopening.

“When I have a licence renewal in my office, there are never notices stuck on my front door saying we have been closed,” she said. “Renovations can be done while the shop is still open.

“I spoke to the animal inspectors many times about how these shops were able to continue trading after so many fines.

“The notices indicate the DMCC must have strong evidence that the owner is not doing what he should be doing.”

The woman alleges that Noromectin, a medication used to control parasites in cattle, had been administered to small animals for sale in the two pet shops. She lodged several complaints with regulators.

“The problem is that it should only be used for cows, sheep, horses, pigs and camels,” she said.

“I gave the evidence we had to my vet, who said it was illegal for a vet to use these types of medicines on anything but cattle.

“If you inject this medicine into an animal that is below 100 kilograms, it will probably die. A normal vet cannot apply to use this medication.

“Something very serious must have happened for the shops to be shut down.”

Natalie Kardoush’s husband gave her a miniature poodle, Marley, as a Valentine’s Day gift last year, but the pet became ill a few days after he was bought from Petholics.

An independent vet diagnosed parvovirus, a potentially lethal infection passed on through faeces. Ms Kardoush spent more than Dh12,000 on veterinary treatment to help Marley recover.

“As soon as I saw the violation poster outside the shop, I was so happy,” she said. “I’ve seen other messages online by the owner claiming the shop is still operational. It is confusing.

“I’m really hoping they have been shut down for good.”

One pet owner, Stephane, who bought a puppy from Petholics that died just days after he took it home, also hopes the closure will be permanent.

“It is a good sign that eventually the authorities did something about these shops,” he said.

“But it’s a shame that no further clarity has been provided regarding the reasons.”