SHARJAH // Lions, dangerous snakes and distinctive birds are among the animals to be confiscated from people’s properties in the emirate.
Fourteen exotic and endangered creatures were taken in raids at homes and farms in the past three months by Environment and Protected Areas Authority, said its director, Hana Al Sweidi.
The animals were taken to Sharjah’s Breeding Centre for Arabian Endangered Wildlife, and Ms Al Sweidi warned that anyone found raising exotic animals faced a fine of Dh100,000.
"The authority pays great attention to animal welfare by implementing strict rules to deal with illegal practices and to raise people’s awareness," Ms Al Sweidi said.
"Therefore, we have taken several steps towards raising awareness among the public and professionals on the benefits of maintaining animal welfare standards, strengthening supervision and monitoring systems and encouraging best practices in this area."
Federal Law No 22 of 2016 regulates the possession, trade and breeding of dangerous animals, and came into force at the turn of the year.
It sets out penalties from Dh10,000 to Dh700,000, and any individual who uses a dangerous animal for assault could face three to seven years in jail if the attack leads to permanent disability of the victim, and life in prison if it leads to death.
"Owning exotic animals poses threats to both humans and animals," said Dr Sara Elliott, founder of the British Veterinary Hospital.
"Exotic animals fed wrong and the lack of knowledge of dealing with them are among the reasons why exotic animals shouldn’t be kept as pets."
People buy parrots thinking they will live for one or two years when they have a lifespan of 40 to 50 years, Dr Elliot said.
Dr Dhiaa Al Rahman Yousef, general manager of Rukn Al Zajel veterinary medicines, said: "Many owners lack the knowledge, money and space to properly care for their pets. Dangerous animals, such as big cats, kept in gardens and small spaces pose a great threat on their lives.
"Owners should be aware that raising these animals poses a health threat as they carry a number of diseases that can be transmitted to humans."