DUBAI // Welfare campaigners welcomed a decision to suspend the live animal sale licence of a pet shop accused of selling sick puppies.
Petholicks was forced to refund money to several customers who bought puppies and found that they were seriously ill with contagious viruses.
Some of the dogs died, while other pet owners paid thousands of dirhams in veterinary bills.
Complaints were submitted to Dubai Municipality and spot checks carried out by the licensing authority, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), who in March issued a warning to the shop in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.
It continued to trade and further cases of neglect and of animals being sold in ill health were reported to authorities.
DMCC has suspended the shop’s licence to trade live animals. “Petholicks still has a licence, but the shop’s right to sell live animals has been suspended,” a DMCC spokesman said.
“The owner is no longer allowed to sell animals and DMCC will not be renewing that licence when it expires, so no live animals are permitted on the premises.”
The trade licence expires in October.
Fourteen people who said they had bought sick dogs from the shop joined forces on social media to gather evidence to push for action from Dubai Municipality.
Natalie Kardoush was given a miniature poodle called Marley – bought from the shop by her husband – as a Valentine’s Day present.
Two days after taking Marley home, the dog became seriously ill with parvovirus and vets said the puppy had 48 hours to live. Although Marley survived, the couple had to pay a substantial vet bill.
“We are beyond excited this has finally happened,” said Ms Kardoush. “This should have happened a long time ago.”
Lakshmi Kewalramani, who lives in Dubai Marina, bought a Chihuahua called Pablo, who died days after taking him home, also from parvo.
“I’m glad the licence has been suspended but the concern is he will continue to sell puppies online and in other shops,” she said. “He’s not going to stop – the authorities need to go far deeper.”
Evelyn Priess, an executive management member of the Emirates Animal Welfare Society, was another campaigning for the shop to be sanctioned. “I am deeply grateful for the final action of the DMCC Authority and the continuous support of Dubai Municipality,” she said.
The owner of Petholicks said all customers signed terms and conditions accepting that pets were at risk of certain viruses, such as parvo, distemper and coronavirus.
The terms stated: “If any of our pet [sic] is diagnosed with the mentioned virus we only replace. If the pet is available with us or we will issue a credit note from the shop that can be used for one year from the date issued.”