Two arrested over video of cat being fed to dogs could be charged under UAE animal cruelty law
DUBAI // Two men arrested on Tuesday in connection with a gruesome viral video of a cat being killed by two dogs could be the first people prosecuted under last year’s animal cruelty law, said the environment minister.
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, welcomed the arrest of the men by Dubai Police, saying as he left a Federal National Council session in the capital: “He will be the first offender to apply the new regulations on.”
Maj Gen Khalil Al Mansouri, assistant commander of CID at Dubai Police, said those convicted of animal abuse will face jail and heavy fines.
The horrific video, which has been widely shared on social media, shows a white cat being pulled out of a cage before it is set upon by two large rottweilers.
In the video, one of two men can be heard saying in Arabic “this is a cat who ate chicken and pigeons” before encouraging the dog to drag the cat outside the cage.
“You eat chicken? You eat chicken? Eat chicken,” he says, talking to the cat, before shouting “eat him, eat him,” to the dog.
After a struggle, the cat goes limp and he can be heard saying “they shut him up, they shut him up”.
Dubai Police said they arrested the pair “in a farm found in one of the emirates”.
Maj Gen Al Mansouri praised the efforts of Dubai investigators for following up on the crime, even though it happened in another emirate. It is believed the incident happened in either Sharjah or Al Ain.
“Such cruel behaviour contradicts our morals and religion. It is inhuman and does not represent the nature of our nationals and residents,” he said.
Dubai Police has asked the public not to sharing violent videos online and instead report them to the authorities.
However, there are mixed views among animal welfare campaigners, some of whom see posting these videos as a good way to ensure action is taken.
Pooja Prakash, who founded a Sharjah pet-fostering service, said: “Social media is positive in the way it highlights these cases are happening but only when they are followed up on and prosecuted.
“This incident needs to be brought to light and justice done.
“We have seen other cases, like the teenager throwing a cat against the wall.
“The video is clear and shows the dog knew what to do to kill the cat, almost like it had been trained to do so. That suggests it has happened before, and will probably happen again.
“It is a result of people abandoning their cats on the street, who are then vulnerable to these sadistic people.”
Dr Susan Aylott, a volunteer at Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi, has established a field clinic on Lulu Island to sterilise stray cats there to help reduce the numbers vulnerable to similar attacks.
“People are unsure about whether to repost these videos on social media in the hope police will take action, or not to do so due to concerns over the law,” she said.
“There should be a clear, straightforward hotline where people can report animal abuse, where the person on the other end of the phone knows how to follow up on the reports correctly.
“They must know what animal abuse is and how it can be prosecuted under the law. At the moment, the police will not always respond to an animal abuse case. The law is not filtering down to the enforcement authorities, unless they have personal animal welfare interests.”
Dr Aylott was also concerned about the number of incidents of animal cruelty.
“We have had several recent incidents like this, including that of a dog whose hind legs were tied and then skinned alive. The abuse has not stopped,” she said.
“It is hard to know if it is becoming more common, or people are reporting it more.”
Last year President Sheikh Khalifa issued Federal Law No 18 for 2016 to tackle cases of animal cruelty. Anyone in violation faces a one-year jail term and/or a fine not exceeding Dh200,000.
Updated: March 14, 2017 04:00 AM