New UAE laws for owning a pet in Dubai

Time Out has information on new UAE laws for owning a pet in Dubai, as well as the ban on exotic pets such as leopards, lions and cheetahs.

The UAE's Federal National Council has a new draft law relating to pet licensing in the country.

The ruling when enacted will affect any domestic pets, from your humble chihuahua to the more exotic lions and such owned in the region. It will cover vaccinations, keeping it under control and general well-being issues.

There is no word yet on when the new law will be passed, but according to The National all owners will have six months to get in line after the it comes into action.

Here is what we know so far:

- Owners will have to buy a license for their pets and keep them on a leash at all times when in public. The licensing fee has not yet been disclosed

- There will be fines of up to Dhs500,000 and jail sentences of up to six months for owners who fail to keep their pets under control

- Penalties will also apply to owners who do not vaccinate their pets against dangerous diseases

Current UAE pet laws require owners to register their pets at Dubai Municipality’s Veterinary Services Section by taking the animals themselves along, providing up-to-date vaccination records and having them tagged.

You also have to get approval from your property’s land owners. If your community does not allow pets, you can try to get a signed letter of approval from the owners to at least allow the pet to be in your home.

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Now let’s move on to the other interesting side of this draft law: a potential ban of exotic pets.

As you probably know already, some wealthy Dubaians keep everything from monkeys, to cheetahs, lions, tigers, bobcats and even crocodiles as pets.

Sharjah was the first Emirate to take action against the trade of exotic animals with a tough law implemented in 2014. Now this draft law offers hope to those wanting a nationwide ban on exotic pet ownership.

Here’s what we can tell you about it so far:

- Only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres will be allowed to keep wild or exotic animals.

- The general public will be encouraged to report cases of wild animals being kept as pets.

- Anyone who takes an exotic pet such as a leopard or cheetah out in public will be fined between Dh10,000 and Dh500,000.

- People who use an animal to threaten or intimidate others face a Dh700,000 fine and/or jail time

- If a person is killed by an animal, its owner can face manslaughter charges

Although it's clear the law aims to stop the ill treatment of exotic pets in the UAE, we’ll have to wait and see if it leads some owners to simply abandon these animals instead of handing them over to wildlife sanctuaries.

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