Following the recent move by Emaar to ban dogs from Dubai Marina’s walkways, we asked the city’s residents for their views on the problems Dubai is facing from both a pet-lover and loather’s point of view.
Peta Wittig, Australian, founder of Adopt-Me
‘I think being a dog owner in the UAE and indeed Dubai is very tough. Between restrictions of places to go, and the constant negative publicity of those irresponsible dog owners – the responsible dog owners are left trying to stay out of people’s way – but at the same time give their dog exercise and socialisation, which is proving more and more difficult.
I think it’s fair to say dog owners are okay for ‘no go’ zones, but there has to be allocated places where doggy people get to enjoy their four-legged friend. It’s disappointing that a few irresponsible dog owners ruin it for the rest of us. Instead of banning dogs from areas, enforcement of rules and engaging the community is the best solution for everyone to get along and enjoy Dubai’s beautiful spaces.’
Nasser Al Falasi, Emirati, founder of Dubai Dogs Society
‘A lot of people have been affected emotionally by [the new Marina rules], mostly residents because that was the only place close enough for them to actually walk their dogs and socialise them with other dogs, and it was taken away from them because of a few irresponsible owners.
One careless owner can affect the entire image of every dog owner in Dubai. It is very important for every dog owner to acknowledge that his or her careless actions can drive us backwards. It is a must that before we ask our government to create places such as dog parks, that we first gain their trust by creating an entire community of respectful and calm dogs.
Our culture has nothing to do with dog hatred in the UAE, our religion never promoted hate for animals; in fact it enforces good morals such as being gentle to animals. I believe the dislike [of dogs] comes from the people who only encountered careless owners, who blame their dogs for everything they do and for the lack of knowledge.’
Jason Freeman, British, Dubai Marina resident
‘Dogs are not being banned from the Marina – just from the busy tourist-friendly promenade area. Dog walkers move at an erratic pace and slow down fellow residents. Larger dogs can intimidate children – or even adults. And as well as being one of the most disgusting sights on the streets of otherwise civilised countries, dog waste spreads disease (yes, I’m sure you clean yours, but clearly not all owners are as considerate). The acts of one person’s pet can cause displeasure or disruption to the lives of hundreds. Please don’t be so selfish as to think this is your right, especially when there are still plenty of places in Dubai, and within the Marina itself, where dogs are still welcome.’