Animal welfare workers seek punishment for cat abuser to act as deterrent

AJMAN // Animal welfare workers are demanding that a shocking cat cruelty video circulating on social media is taken seriously by police so others are deterred from similar acts in future. Facebook followers of the Dubai Animal Welfare Society and Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi were just some to express outrage at the video footage showing […]

AJMAN // Animal welfare workers are demanding that a shocking cat cruelty video circulating on social media is taken seriously by police so others are deterred from similar acts in future.

Facebook followers of the Dubai Animal Welfare Society and Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi were just some to express outrage at the video footage showing an Ajman teenager throwing a cat against a wall for fun.

The content stoked such anger, a reward was offered by animal lovers for information leading to the identification of the person responsible, so he could be reported to police. Officers are now investigating the incident, in which the cat is believed to have died.

Afra Al Dhaheri, the Emirati owner of Cloud 9 Pet Hotel in Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, runs live broadcasts on social media to educate others about animal welfare.

“After watching the video, I couldn’t sleep. I was full of anger and wanted to find out who this person was,” she said.

“People had gathered a Dh10,000 reward on Facebook for information, so it was pretty easy for the police to follow up. It shows how angry people are. I had not seen anything like this before.

“Police need to take action and this person needs to be in jail.”

Although shocking, animal welfare workers claim it is not an isolated incident, and are encouraging anyone witnessing similar abuse to report it to police immediately.

“This is a horrific case of an intentional, barbaric killing,” said Dr Susan Aylott, a British vet working with Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi.

“We would like to get across to the public that animal abuse is both a crime against society and religion.

“The public have a duty to report such crimes.”

Such abuse is punishable by police under Article 431 of Federal Law number 16, with penalties of up to a year in prison or a Dh20,000 fine in some cases.

The AWAD group is currently putting together leaflets on how to report animal abuse.

“There is evidence linking animal abuse and increased likelihood of violent offending behaviour towards individuals,” Dr Aylott added.

“It is well established in the US and UK that these links pose a real threat to society and need to be addressed here. The link to harming children is especially heinous.”

Research in the UK suggests animal abuse by children is quite widespread. In a minority of more extreme cases it appears to be associated with abuse of the child committing the act, or subsequent abusive behaviour by the child.

Where serious animal abuse has occurred in a household, there may be an increased likelihood that some other form of family violence is also occurring, and that any children present may also be at increased risk of abuse.

Mira Al Suwaidi is a 20-year-old Emirati veterinary student at the UAE University in Al Ain and has established the Risq Society, a group set up to help people report animal abuse cases.

“If these incidents are not reported and followed up on, people will think they can get away with it,” she said.

“This is happening all the time, all over the world, and being posted on social media. It is up to people to take responsibility, and educate their children about the rights of animals.”

nwebster@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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