A local canine rescue organization is seeking to re-home eight young puppies that were found next the bodies of two dogs behind the Qatar Racing Club earlier this week.
The deceased animals had their legs bound and bodies marked with stab wounds, according to Dogs in Doha.
The graphic photos of the dead creatures, posted on the group’s Facebook page, led some to speculate that they may have been used in a dogfighting match.
However, Dogs in Doha founder Birgit Marquerithe said in a statement to Doha News that it appeared as though the animals had been dragged behind a car.
According to Marquerithe, such killings are not infrequent occurrences here. On a near-daily basis, she said “dogs and cats are brutally murdered, either by hitting, kicking them or by dragging them behind their cars or shooting them.”
She said that Dogs in Doha, alongside local shelters and other groups, have rescued more than 50 puppies in recent weeks who have been left without their mothers.
“Most of the time the mom has been killed and the puppies are left behind to die,” she said.
Looking for new homes
Dogs in Doha rescues canines, but doesn’t operate its own shelter. Instead, it works to find foster homes for young puppies who need care.
Marquerithe said a “kind woman” offered to take in the eight puppies and give them shelter for a week.
However, foster homes are still needed to take care of them afterwards, as they are only four weeks old and need care to survive.
She added that food donations for the puppies are more than welcome.
The puppies have been examined by a veterinarian and dewormed. They were very dehydrated when they were found, but are now eating and drinking well, Marquerithe said.
Laws and regulation
Like many countries, Qatar has several laws in place against abusing animals, though enforcement may be a problem.
Lawyer Yusuf Al Zaman previously said that beating or torturing a dog or cat – regardless of whether it is a stray or a pet – is an offense punishable by two months of jail time or a fine of up to QR1,000 (US$275) under Law No. 11.
Intentionally killing domestic animals, such as a dog, can lead to a prison term of three months, a fine of up to QR2,000 ($550) or both.
Penalties climb to three years in prison and/or a fine of QR5,000 ($1,374) for killing or severely harming animals used to carry humans or goods such as camels, donkeys or cattle.
Stronger regulations may soon be on the way.
New GCC-wide legislation aimed at protecting the welfare of animals are expected to soon be implemented in Qatar. The law, which has already been adopted by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, was discussed by Qatar’s Cabinet late last year, according to Al Sharq.
However, some residents have expressed skepticism that authorities are willing to aggressively go after animal abusers. The poor treatment of animals for sale at Souq Waqif has long been a sore subject for many, as has the practice of keeping wild creatures such as lions as pets.
While responsibility for investigating cases of animal abuse falls on the police department, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) works to help control the number of stray cats and dogs.
The MOE spays and neuters animals that come to its attention and then returns them to the streets, according to a ministry official.
Internal regulations prevent the MOE from killing stray animals unless they pose a threat to residents or have a fatal disease.
Still, the stray animal population – combined with pets that are abandoned by their owners – has stretched many shelters to their limits.
“We are at the end of our rope, as all the shelters are overloaded with animals and the same goes for our foster home recourses,” Marquerithe said.
“I wish the Qatar government would finally step up and implement a law that protects the animals in Qatar and put a stop of the breeding and selling of animals in the Souq.”
A few years ago, the Central Municipal Council (CMC) recommended that the government designate land to charity organizations and groups that shelter stray animals.
CMC said that the MOE had a temporary shelter for stray animals in Nuaija area, and a new government animal shelter is being built in Omm Salal Mohammad area. The 3,000 square meter establishment is expected to be finished by December 2015, according to Al Raya.