BY AZMAT HAROON
DOHA: With a rise in the number of pets going missing (some say they are being stolen!), more and more owners have begun installing microchips in the bodies of their pets through injections.
Unfortunately, the chips do not help track the movement of animals, but if found, the pets can be scanned and identified with the help of the chip. “The chip is not like a GPS (Global Positioning System) that would help track the movement of an animal, but if one finds a lost pet with a chip it can be identified,” says Rhonda Rooney of Parkview Pet Centre
Installing a chip in a pet costs about QR250, says Rooney. She hints that many pets going missing are sold at low prices.
Recently, a 14-month old pure-bred Dalmatian, who its owners called Sab, reportedly went missing from his home in the West Bay area, she said in remarks to this newspaper yesterday.
The news of Sab being lost quickly spread among the various pet groups here, especially through Facebook pages of these groups. Some users got in touch with the Parkview Pet Centre here, saying that they found someone trying to sell a Dalmatian for QR500 in the South of the country, according to Rooney.
“That’s one way of making a fast buck…In the case of bigger dogs it’s cheaper to sell
them off instead of nurturing them.”
She said it was interesting to note that in recent incidents involving missing dogs, as soon as the owners went out of the country, the pets disappeared.
Earlier last November, two Huskies, Lassi and her brother Rusty, were reportedly ‘taken’ from their yard.
Rusty was found on the road after being hit by a vehicle, while Lassi continues to be missing.
The owner of the Huskies had gone to Germany for treatment. The Peninsula
The problem, however, is that there is no way to prove to the authorities (law-enforcement agencies) if a pet was stolen or just went missing and whether or not you even own it, says a legal expert.
“Qatari law talks only about the protection of animals and is not quite elaborate,” said Khalifa Jassim Essa Al Hadad, a prominent lawyer. Apart from lack of details, the law also doesn’t specify which agency is officially responsible for dealing with pets or their protection, he said.
“In the West, the life of an animal is as important as that of a human, but in our culture we do not have the same sense of protecting pets,” says Hadad, adding that in Qatar, not many even pay attention to the rights of cats and dogs. Although there are associations and clubs that organise races for horses, dogs and camels, there is no government body in the country that protects domesticated animals, says Hadad.
Asked if the law says anything about the animals — mostly cats — that are hit by vehicles and can be seen lying in the streets for hours, Hadad said that in such a case, the owner would be held legally responsible “for any damage to the vehicle”.
“If an owner lets a pet slip out and there is damage to a vehicle or any other property, he is to be held responsible in the eyes of the law,” said the lawyer.
But taking advantage of the loopholes in the law he can simply deny that he owned the pet and can thus escape being fined.