Pet welfare film aims to challenge attitudes

Tear-jerking advert focuses on animal abandonment

Abusing animals will now be punished with an immediate Dh1,000 fine instead of being heard in court. Getty
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A powerful message on animal abandonment is being delivered via a short film circulating on social media - and it certainly tugs at the heat strings.

The two-minute footage features Coco, a young German Shepherd dog, who plays the part of an abandoned pet.

The advert has been created to promote the work of Little Angels Animal Rescue League, which has operated across the UAE since 2014.

“We wanted to get the message out there about animal abandonment and the change in the law,” said Ashish Varghese, head of TV production at ad agency Doyle, Dane and Bernbach in Dubai.

“We have a budget for proactive social projects and this fitted that criteria.

“It is sad to see these animals left alone and we wanted to convey that emotion. A dog does not forget.”

New legislation announced in the UAE in December detailed pet ownership obligations, stating animals should not be abandoned under any circumstances.

Any act considered as animal cruelty will also now carry a possible fine or even a jail sentence.

Despite changes to the law, however, animal welfare groups continue to report cases of pets being dumped by irresponsible owners.

“The law is there and it is clear, but nothing has really changed - people need to start taking responsibility,” said Maryam Amar, founder of Little Angels Rescue League.

“Expats don’t always consider the costs of taking an animal with them when they leave. Everyone should think this through. Owning a pet is a 15-20 year commitment.”

Animal welfare groups across the country are facing unprecedented challenges of caring for abandoned pets and strays.

Many rely on self-funding to pay for vaccinations, microchipping and neutering before the animals can be re-homed.

Ms Amar said it can take up to a year to find a home for some animals, but that she hoped the film would make potential pet owners thing hard before adopting.

“It’s a beautiful film, very touching and emotional,” she said. “It shows even pure breeds and good looking animals can be abandoned.

“Highlighting the different stages of fear and sadness animals go through when they are left alone is a powerful message.”