Summertime Sadness: Rescue Workers Share Horrifying Dangers Of Leaving Pets With Strangers

Anika Eliz Baby

What happens to your pets when you go away for the summer? Where do they go? Are they safe where they are? 

Several pet rescue centres say no. 

Lovin Dubai spoke to the (very busy) pet rescue committee in Dubai about the increased danger pets face during the summer: dumped at the vet, handed over to strangers, or left to die. The horrors are unimaginable

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Chelsee from Furrballs_dogs comments,

“With such an easy process for buying pets, they are so easily disregarded”

 

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Very often pets are handed over to unlicensed people with no experience in fostering animals

Several posts on the Facebook adoption pages show owners going away for vacation and asking if any stranger is willing to look after their pet for the travel duration.

This is “paid illegal fostering” explains Ghida Jamal, a rescuer and a moderator of a prominent cat rescue page on Facebook.

Pets are taken in with no proper background checks. In a hurry, owners leave pets in homes that may not be animal-proofed. Foster homes also never look at whether cats are safe to handle. Ghida explains,

“They don’t even ask if a cat is vaccinated or neutered, absolutely clueless about safety measure like cat proofing their balconies and being careful when opening doors. Someone with experience would test cats to make sure they don’t have anything contagious.” 

A spokesperson from the Stray Dogs Center also adds on the aftermath of such illegal fostering:

“Leaving your pets with anyone unlicensed is a huge risk. If anything happens to your dog there is no legal protection. There are so many horror stories from people who have had their pets go missing, die from mysterious illnesses, it’s just not worth the risk.” 

 

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What should you do with your pets if you are going away?

Ideally, your pets are a part of your family, so you would take them along with you.

But if that is not feasible, spend the extra amount and time to organise a legal pet sitter, boarding facilities, or use a foster with plenty of referrals. But never leave it with a stranger. The picture below shows a heartbreaking instance of a home pet dumped in the Sharjah market in this heat with its passport.

Many times, pets are just left outside, other times people travel and never come back for their pets

Dumped pets is a real big issue that rescuers are majorly struggling with today. The issue becomes even worse during Summer. Ghida echoes public sentiment when she says,

“I don’t know how anyone in their sane mind would assume animals can survive outdoors after being indoors.” 

She explains the logic of some twisted minds- usually the owners of fluffy cats and dogs- who groom and dump animals on the street.

“They’re ‘prepping them for the summer’ and think they can survive that way.” 

Looking at the kind of posts on adoption and rescue pages, she explains how several owners and fosters give rescue groups very little time to figure out a new home. Often, rescue workers only get a few hours before the owner leaves for their travel.

“It really breaks my heart because animals trust us blindly. We’re their source of comfort, we’re their happiness, we’re their entire world. We can’t take all their love and then dump them like they have an expiry date.” 

Besides stronger laws, pet owners need to be more responsible

Chelsee from furrballs_dogs says,

“Tighter laws need to be implemented on the sale of pets to prevent this long suffering situation we experience not just in summer but all year round.” 

Your pet is your responsibility. And a big one at that!

Understand the commitment you are undertaking with a pet- this is a friend for life, so of course you have to account for it financially, mentally, emotionally, and physically before taking it home. Ghida says,

“I’d urge people to not be selfish to own pets they cannot afford and don’t have a long term plan for. We always need fosters so if short-term fostering and no commitment is for them then better do that instead.” 

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