We come across many expats who ask us why do we import pets while so many abandoned dogs and cats are looking for homes in UAE. The answer is complex but our opinion on the subject is as follows.
K9 Friends, Feline Friends and several other non-profit organisations advertising and caring for abandoned pets are present in UAE. However, upon taking a closer look, the abandoned dogs are generally Saluki or Shepherd crosses, there are hardly any pedigree dogs, especially not small breeds of dogs. We all know dog sport enthusiasts who are Saluki fans and own 95% of these type of dogs. The breed is popular as a sporting/racing category and most of Saluki dogs are imported exclusively for this purpose as first choice for desert sporting breed by not so scrupulous importers. However, the sporting career span of Saluki is often no longer than 2 years. This is when such dogs livelihood comes to a sad end. The dogs who have been fed optimal diet in order to win the races or sporting events are no longer winning. Finding them new homes or even spaying/neutering sounds too tedious and expensive when one has paid more or less AED 3000 to buy this dog in the first place. We leave the rest to your imagination and you can draw your own conclusion to what happens to these canines and why there are so many Saluki crosses roaming the streets in UAE.
As an exclusive importer of small to medium breeds of dogs, we promote responsible ownership and relocation when moving out of the country. Pets Habitat is a member of IPATA, thus we are also pet movers. Our data shows many of our customers tend to move their pet along with their family if they happen to relocate from UAE. We transfer an impressive number of dogs and cats to Europe, USA and many other parts of the world. UK has allowed quarantine-free entry to dogs from last few years and that has been a certain confidence factor for a large number of British expats buying a pet from us. Another point to note is that when an expat buys a puppy at AED 12,000 or so, they reserve the financial capacity to spend on relocation of their pet. We would strongly argue that although not all expats are alike, only a very small percentage of our customers could be the culprits in abandoning their pet in the streets.
It is our personal feeling that the Government of UAE has to do more to educate the dog sporting enthusiasts and encourage them to use humane methods to keep the dogs or to try to find them homes. If all else fails, should Saluki breed be prohibited to be imported to UAE? For the moment only those breeds considered to be used in dog fights are banned to import into UAE and no one seems to realise the plight of humble Saluki, who deserves to be a loving pet and not just a sporting machine to be discarded when not in use. Many expats do adopt adult Saluki/crosses and we strongly encourage them. However, to prevent these dogs from ending up on the streets and breeding, import and ownership of Saluki has to be regulated.
If you disagree with us, try searching online for a small pure breed dog suitable for apartment in abandoned or adoption section of any UAE based non-profit website. Your search will mostly likely yield larger breeds and one or two genuine pure breed dogs if you are lucky.
As for the cats, we always have “free to a good home” adults or kittens available, please check our Pets for Adoption pages. The initial decision upon opening our pet store was not to have any pedigree kittens for sale due to many beautiful stray kittens available to open minded owners. However, in practice, we learned the demand for purebred cats is not always for the sake of vanity, our customer often do have valid reasons to minimize to just one or two, or completely avoid owning local Arabian Mau. Consequently, we have slowly started to import few cat breeds most often requested by our customers.
To conclude, not all pet stores are oblivious to the plight of abandoned pets, but we are also not the culprits of this problem. If you study our website carefully, you will note that we do not even encourage import of Labradors, Retrievers, Dobermans, Rottweiler, Boxers, Great Danes or German Shepherds, etc., even though these are not always the misused breeds. We believe it’s more prudent & beneficial to own a small dog in UAE due to weather restrictions, easy indoor management of your pet and cheaper relocation, when needed. ExpatWoman.com has compiled a nice list of non-profit animal adoption facilities, we will redirect you there to avoid copying the information: Animal Charities & Rescue Centres