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.”