No more exotic animal ownership in UAE

The Federal National Council on Tuesday passed a draft law which would stop individuals from owning wild and other domesticated but dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, apes and monkeys, as well as pit bulls, mastiffs and Japanese Tosa dogs.

The law is meant to stop people from unlicensed dealing and ownership of all types of wild and domesticated but dangerous animals, according to the draft law, which requires to be finally approved by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan before it takes effect.

Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, told the House the law shows the UAE’s unwavering commitment towards ending illegal wildlife trade.

The draft law includes tough penalties for offenders of up to life imprisonment and/or a Dh1 million fine.

Those who use an animal to attack people and the assault causes death will face life imprisonment. In the event the attack causes a disability, a prison term of up to seven years will be imposed. If other minor injuries are inflicted, a prison term of not more than a year and a fine of up to Dh10,000 will be given, according to the new bill.

Under the new law, those who use animals to terrorise people will face a jail term and/or a range of fines from Dh10,000 to Dh400,000.

In addition to banning the unlicensed ownership of these wild and other dangerous animals, the law also outlines stricter records of wild or dangerous domesticated or undomesticated animals. It also calls for all imported animals to be registered and carry official certificates issued by UAE vets.

All dogs are required to be restrained by a collar and leash when on public property. A leash (also called a lead, lead line or tether) is a rope or similar material attached to the neck or head of an animal for restraint or control.

Those who fail to control their dogs in public places with a lead may face a jail term of not less than a month and not more than six months and/or fines ranging from Dh10,000 to Dh500,000.

In November 2014, a new law was introduced in Sharjah which prohibits the trade and possession of exotic wild animals. Breeding was also banned.

The new law notes that most wild animals cannot be reared as pets since they are vulnerable to unpredictable behavioural changes that could go out of control.

It also details measures for the registration of all types of imported animals, including Cites (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) certificates and official vet certificates issued in the UAE.

Once enforced, the new law gives owners of exotic wild animals six months to adjust their legal status by handing over these animals to authorities.


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