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What’s ‘merciful’ about killing Kuwait’s strays?

local2KUWAIT: A group of volunteers including members of Kuwait Shooting Sport Federation have been shooting stray dogs in Kuwait - a move that has provoked criticism from animal rights' organizations and individuals all across social networking websites. The group featuring Kuwaiti shooters Naser Al-Dihani and brothers Ali Al-Za'abi and Abdulwahab Al-Za'abi, decided to take action and solve the problem of stray dogs in Kuwait following an attack on a four-year-old girl in Khairan resort. On the first day of the volunteers' campaign to eliminate strays in Kuwait, the shooters killed 30 dogs.

Pictures of slaughtered and mutilated dogs have been splashed across social media and Instagram, slamming the shooters' atrocities against animals - an allegation that Al-Za'abi denied was related to the three-member group of volunteers. "We were attacked by many people on social media for stabbing, beheading or mutilating the stray dogs but the person who was responsible for these acts and who also posted the horrible photos does not belong to our group," Al-Za'abi told the Kuwait Times. "He apologized for his crime and stopped murdering stray dogs. We even asked him to use mercy killing for dogs, and he is now only shooting them so they won't suffer much," he explained.

Shakir Awadh, the Public Relations in charge at PAAAFR said that the organization held a meeting with animal rights' organizations and that they agreed on leasing land from the PAAAFR's real estate to accommodate the stray dogs and rehabilitate them. "These shooters do not represent any public authority and they are all volunteers. We want to find a reasonable way of getting rid of the stray dogs in cooperation with the animal rights' organizations to hunt them and then to treat them at the center rather than killing them in groups like this," he elaborated.

According to Al-Zaabi, shooting the stray dogs is not a publicity stunt. "We are not doing this to get publicity because we have been shooting stray dogs for many years. If we were seeking publicity, we would have published the photos of the dead dogs on social media long ago. We published the photos of this shooting to make Aysha's (victim) parents feel better that we took revenge against these dogs on their behalf," Ali Al-Za'abi told the Kuwait Times yesterday.

According to him, these dogs are dangerous and kill animals in the farms in Wafra. "They killed many of the animals that we are breeding on our farm in Wafra including horses that cost more than KD 8,000", Al-Za'abi said, elaborating that they also kill and eat the sheep, chicken and other animals. "These animals need to be protected on the farm, and now after the increased attacks, we have to keep them locked in cages to protect them," he said adding that many people don't have a fence surrounding their farm. Even the farms with a fence are not spared by the stray dogs, he said.

The raid on stray dogs was put on hold for one month starting from August 10. "When some animal lovers and organizations started to attack our actions, the government announced that they will find a solution. So we decided to halt our activities and wait for action of the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR). I mean, a serious and effective solution and not just catching them and transferring them to the desert. Otherwise we will resume our campaign again," warned Al-Za'abi.

By Nawara Fattahova, Staff Writer

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This article was published on 12/08/2013