Animals are kept in tiny cages, often for days and weeks at a time outdoors or in shops without proper ventilation or air conditioning at the pet market in Al-Rai, Kuwait. — Photos by Ben Garcia

Amidst the searing heat, Kuwait Times visited the infamous pet market in Rai near the Friday Market. Recently, some social media have reported that pets are being abandoned in droves by people leaving Kuwait for the summer. There have also been unconfirmed reports that the pet market itself has been shuttered.

Kuwait Times found that the pet market is still open and operating as normal, with hundreds of animals left to suffer in the unbearable heat.

“No, the municipality did not shutter shops at the pet market. We are open from 8am to 10pm. People even come in the middle of the day to purchase pets and food,” confirmed Binal, an Indian working at one of the pet shops.

Regarding abandoned pets, no statistics or government data is available, but individual accounts suggest that there has been an uptick in abandoned pets dumped in the streets, local parks or near the market.

The ill treatment of some animals in the market continues. Many shops aren’t airconditioned and animals are kept in tiny cages, quite often in unhygienic conditions. During our recent visit, Kuwait Times saw a man dousing a cat with hot water directly from the tap and using dishwashing liquid as cleaner.

At a bird shop, an attendant was spraying water on pigeons and other birds using a spray bottle, a friendlier way of giving them a bath.

By Ben Garcia