A number of facilities say they are now reaching their maximum capacity as many residents abandon fur babies during the summer months
As the summer heat intensifies, a trend emerges in the UAE: a surge in abandoned pets finding their way to animal shelters operating at maximum capacity. These facilities are appealing to individuals and families to consider fostering or adopting these furry companions.
K9, a shelter home in Dubai, recently posted an urgent notice on social media. “Our waiting list has 142 dogs, and we are requesting people to foster or adopt dogs this summer,” it said. This came after the shelter home highlighted that this number on their waiting list is more than they have ever had in their 34 years.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Siddhi Mulaokar, K9 Friends Volunteer said: “The shelter currently houses 120 dogs, and we have 142 dogs on a priority list, waiting to be provided spaces to come in. We have to adhere to safety standards and cannot overcrowd the kennels. So, we can only take one dog in when one dog goes out through adoption. This is why we are urging people to adopt and not shop because not only are they giving a dog a home and a good life, but they are enabling us to save another one by freeing up space for one from our priority list.”
She explained several reasons as to why dog shelters are overwhelmed, the most common ones being summer travel, relocation and financial strain.
“People want to go on vacation, and some think it’s ok to give up their dogs. But it’s not. We have to educate them on dog boarding facilities where they can keep the dogs while they are on holiday. There is a cost associated with this, but a responsible dog (or any pet) owner should account for this. Your summer holiday shouldn’t cause your dog to end up at a shelter,” added Mulaokar.
She pointed out that people with families and children pick summer to shift homes elsewhere. “What they don’t account for is the relocation of their pets and sometimes don’t even know it’s an option so they will want to give them up. We must often educate them on relocation services. Financial trouble is another reason. Therefore, it is crucial that you budget the cost of owning a pet even before getting one.”
Echoing similar thoughts Amirah William, owner, Stray Dogs Center, Umm Al Quwain, said the primary reason cited in the UAE for surrendering dogs to shelters is that the owners relocate internationally.
She explained: “The main reason given when dogs are surrendered to the shelter is the owner is leaving the country. With the shelter housing and caring for 998 dogs, any support is appreciated either through sponsorship of a dog, vet bills, project, food etc. Think before you act. If you’re considering adding a pet to your family, it is a lifetime commitment.”
William highlighted that impulse adoption without careful consideration can lead to an unwanted pet later on.
“If you cannot make that commitment, then consider fostering. Surrendering a pet to a shelter is devastating for it as the pet once had a family and had lived in a home,” she adds.
Businesses support rescuers
Meanwhile, a pet supplies retailer in the UAE, and a dog boarding and daycare provider, distributed one tonne of food — equivalent to 12,000 meals — to three non-profit animal welfare organisations in the UAE. The initiative was conducted across Animals & Us (Fujairah), Stray Dogs Center (Umm Al Quwain), and RAK Animal Welfare Center (Ras Al Khaimah) with the aim of raising awareness and inspiring others to contribute to the welfare of animals.
“I’m immensely proud of our ongoing support towards the welfare of animals and the dedicated rescue community’s tireless work. We are and always will be a reliable partner in their journey,” said Amr Hazem Youssef, CEO of The Petshop and founder of Petsville.
“We are celebrating 12 years and wanted to mark it with the wider community. The main objective of this meal donation was to amplify the importance of supporting shelters and inspire others through our actions,” he added.