A generally agreed upon notion is that dogs are too pure for this world and we, as a race, do not truly deserve their love. Cats are adorable if a bit…problematic sometimes. Are birds…terrifying? They’re pretty and cute but I have Ornithophobia so I’ll leave it to someone else to sing their praises. The point is, all of these animals are living organisms that deserve to be treated well. If you agree, then you have achieved the minimum requirement to be qualified as a decent human being. Congratulations.
To my disappointment, not all human beings are capable of achieving that requirement. It’s insane to think about, I know, but that is the sad truth that I discovered first hand on my last visit to the Sharjah Animal and Bird Market. Six days ago, my best friend and I decided we fancied seeing and petting some cute animals. She hadn’t been to the Animal and Bird Market in 10 years but it came to mind and we set off to our destination.
What we found honestly made me sick to my stomach. The first shop we went into had a beautiful fluffy cat (not sure of the breed, though I suspect it was a Persian cat) in the window and the merchant handed me one of its kittens, a tiny little thing that was roughly grabbed out of its cage and tossed into my arms. The poor thing was shivering as I made it more comfortable in the crook of my arm. It snuggled deep into my jacketed arm when I started petting it. Had it been so starved for affection that my gentle touch provoked such trust instantly?
As I turned to speak to the man, he reached into another cage full of Domestic Short-haired kittens and grabbed one out by its head. Another made a wild bid for freedom but he also grabbed it and threw it back in its cage. He told me the kitten I had was 400 DHS and the kitten he had was 200 DHS. Nauseated, I managed to take it on hand as well. It was in the same position. Shaking like a leaf but so happy to receive a bit of love. My heart broke a bit as I returned both babies to the shop assistant who tossed them into their respective cages. We left the shop a little stunned, to say the least.
When I saw 2 Yorkie puppies shaved completely bare in the window of a shop, I had to stop. I reached into their pen and they sniffed my hand hesitantly. I waited patiently as they tried to ascertain if I was a threat. The second they sensed that my intention was innocent, they began jumping and licking my arm. They were so endearingly cute. I have never seen a Yorkie so naked in my life. They both had a constant shiver to them though I don’t know if it was because they were cold or afraid. My bet is on them being afraid of the owners who didn’t even stir when I asked why they were shivering. There were a couple of Saint Bernards who took notice of the puppies’ excitement at my presence and stood up in their cages to greet me. Their barks got my attention and the attention of the other dogs in the shop, who had previously been laying lethargically in their cages and pens. I pet both the Saint Bernards as well as I could as they seemed ill. Their eyes had a yellowish substance gathered in the corners and the whites of their eyes were bluish. Their noses were also quite snotty. A beauty of a white dog was laying in a pen not too far from them. He had not stood or even barked in my direction but when I touched his fur, he stirred then excitedly got up so I could pet him. He strongly resembled a Samoyed to me which could explain why he seemed so deflated in his small pen. Samoyeds are not suited for hot weather and the store wasn’t well ventilated. They also are very active dogs that require a lot of exercises. This dog didn’t seem to be getting any of what he needed. I asked about his breed and his age but the owners didn’t seem to know. My friend had gotten spooked by the commotion of the barking dogs and gone outside. The commotion had managed to attract more people to the store. I hope some of those dogs were given good homes that day.
As we decided to leave that hellhole and head home, a man in the courtyard called to me. “Kalb, shoofi kalb,” he said, in Arabic. Lo and behold, he opened a box to reveal a cooped up dog inside. He was vibrating with fear. He didn’t even look at me when I touched him and avoided all eye-contact, just sat hunched over and shivered – classic signs of abuse. His owner came up to answer my angry questions. He said he didn’t know its breed but it was 8 months old and meant to be a hunting dog. However, he was leaving the country and didn’t want him anymore. Now, if that doesn’t sound sketchy to you, you must have seen some things. I had no interest in talking to this man but I kept asking questions in my attempt to continue calming the dog. Through research, my friend discovered that it had been a Doberman and German terrier mix. We headed home right after, outraged and with heavy hearts.
We live in a country that prides itself on security and justice. Our police force works tirelessly to make sure we are all safe. We have laws against the mistreatment of animals – our country does not tolerate animal abuse. So I urge all of you, please log a complaint using the complaint form on www.alameen.gov.ae or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com or by calling the toll free number 800151.
Animals of all sorts have been man’s constant companion. We, as a race, should not stand for this kind of cruel abuse. We, as citizens of this great country, certainly will not. I urge the authorities to do more random checks on these markets. I know in my heart that those in charge of this monumental country will not let these animals down.