7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - Rory@7days.ae

A na­tion­wide ban on walk­ing dogs with­out leashes is be­ing con­sid­ered as part of wider changes to the own­er­ship of an­i­mals.

Fed­eral Na­tional Coun­cil mem­bers on Tues­day de­bated a pro­posed law that in­cludes a to­tal ban on keep­ing lions, tigers and pri­mates.

Clauses in the same law also out­line strict rules on ca­nines. Those who fail to con­trol their dogs in pub­lic could face be­tween a month and six months in jail and a fine of Dhs10,000-Dhs500,000 un­der the new pro­pos­als.

At present, own­ers in Dubai, for ex­am­ple, must walk dogs on a lead, un­der mu­nic­i­pal rules that carry fines. Some head out­side the city to walk dogs freely. Ar­eas such as Al Qu­dra Lakes are pop­u­lar, while some drive to beaches in the Northern Emi­rates.

A fed­eral law would largely pro­hibit this. The draft will be con­sid­ered in two weeks’ time.

Cameron Clegg, 55, a pho­tog­ra­pher from South Africa, lives in Dubai and owns two dogs.

He said: “This would make own­ing dogs very dif­fi­cult and it would be a sad oc­ca­sion if this is ap­proved.

“Dogs are part of many fam­i­lies. In our neigh­bour­hood they are al­most mas­cots and a few of the chil­dren that ini­tially per­haps weren’t com­fort­able with dogs now em­brace them.

“An al­ter­na­tive, I’d sug­gest, would be to have sev- eral des­ig­nated ar­eas, even just small fenced off parks.”

David Labouchere, 53, a Bri­tish ex­pat liv­ing in Ara­bian Ranches, also has two dogs. He said it could lead to more stray dogs, if some fam­i­lies sim­ply let them go. He said: “Dogs tend to be much more friendly and so­cia­ble if they are off a lead, if they’re not con­strained. There could be a hap­pier medium.

“If you had to call po­lice ev­ery time you saw a dog off a lead, I fear that would be un­en­force­able.

“If you a walk­ing them off their lead and there is some­one who is cul­tur­ally sen­si­tive to dogs nearby, then you put it on a lead. I hope we can find a bal­ance that suits ev­ery­one.”

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