A video clip on social media of a PAAAFR team killing stray dogs in Kabd by poisoning them provoked angry reactions by viewers. The video shows five stray dogs struggling to death after consuming poisoned food in a scene that is bereft of humanity. On Twitter, some expressed their disapproval of what had happened, referring to the Islamic religion, which urges the welfare of animals.
Others expressed satisfaction with what happened, pointing to attacks by dogs on humans, especially young kids, and their role in the transmission of diseases. Some people responded by posting pictures and videos of their pets and children with street dogs, saying they hurt only those who hurt them.
I believe mercy has been taken away from the hearts of officials, who chose the easiest solution in dealing with stray dogs by killing them with poison, and encouraged citizens and expats to do so by allowing the circulation and sale of toxic substances that can be mixed with food and placed near garbage containers. Activists claimed the poisonings took place in block 3 in Kabd, demanding accountability over all those who committed an inhumane attack on animals.
It was said that the method of killing these animals is in accordance with fatwas of legitimacy, since poisoning has been practiced for a long time, and especially since the dogs were abandoned in the streets or dumped in the wilderness. But is this an excuse? I believe dogs and other stray animals are generally vulnerable to diseases and epidemics, especially since they are not subject to any healthcare or immunizations.
In 2014, the animal welfare law of the GCC countries was issued after approval by the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly. The law requires animal owners to commit to all precautions to ensure that no harm is caused to animals, and that proper living conditions are provided for the animals. According to the law, if an animal is to be given up, it should be done in coordination with the authorities to ensure that the health of the animal is monitored, and it should be presented to a veterinarian for checkup and treatment.
Animal owners and owners are required to feed the animals in a manner suitable to their age and in sufficient quantities to keep them healthy, house the animals in a place designated for them and not use them for scientific experiments. I believe the law is clear and has specific details to ensure no harm is done, but sadly ignorance and cruelty are prevailing. I think that poisoning dogs is dangerous and their condition after poisoning was painful and shameful.
The biggest issue in people’s dealings with stray animals – whether cats or dogs – is cultural. There is a need to find alternative solutions other than poisoning, the most important of which is impounding these animals in a locked yard or specific areas instead of killing them. Also, providing proper food to the animal is very easy and requires only contracting poultry or meat companies to give the bones that are thrown in the waste daily.
It seems that the culture of humane behavior with animals has been lost among many people, as killing them by stoning, suffocation and poisoning only reflects ignorance. The question that remains is whether these ignorant people will be punished, and why these animals are not offered for adoption in Kuwait or other countries. Will Kuwait witness another crime if there is no punishment for those who harm these animals? I hope we don’t witness a similar crime in the near future.
By Muna Al-Fuzai