In line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the MoCCAE has announced the enforcement of the new Federal Law No. 22 of 2016 to regulate the possession of dangerous animals.
The law aims to stop individuals from owning, trading and breeding a variety of dangerous, wild and exotic animals, while protecting the public’s safety and health.
Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, noted, "The new law aims to safeguard community members from the risks that may be caused by these animals, as well as to protect those animals from extinction. However, animal welfare cannot be achieved by legislation alone, strict implementation is more important to deal with any illegal activities. 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."
The new federal law comes in the wake of the success of the First UAE National Conference on Animal Welfare, organised by the Ministry from 2nd-3rd November, 2016 as the first national conference ever within the country and the region concerning animal welfare.
"The conference underlined UAE’s special attention on the constant follow-up of animal welfare procedures and its development, in accordance with the best international standards and practices, to build an integrated platform for animal welfare. The new law on the possession of dangerous animals is an important addition to UAE laws regulating animal welfare and the international trade in endangered species," Al Zeyoudi explained.
Under the new law on regulating possession of dangerous animals, which took effect immediately after being published in the official gazette, those who use an animal to attack people will face life imprisonment if an assault causes death.
In the event the attack causes a disability, a prison term of up to seven years will be imposed. If other minor injuries are inflicted, a prison term of not more than a year and a fine of up to Dh10,000 will be given.
Those who use animals to terrorise people will face a jail term and/or a fine ranging from Dh10,000 to Dh400,000.
The law states that only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, and breeding and research centres, are entitled to keep dangerous, wild or exotic animals, and all permits issued to other entities to import such animals will revoked.
It also encourages the public to report abandoned animals to the authorities or to the nearest police station.
Further, owners of exotic animals will have to hand these animals over to authorities within six months from the date of the law.
Dog owners must obtain a license and vaccinations for their pets from local authorities within six months from the effective date of the law and keep them on a leash at all times when in public.
Those who fail to do so will face a fine of at least Dh10,000, but not more than Dh100,000.
Apart from banning the unlicensed ownership of wild and dangerous animals, the law also stipulates the need for stricter records of wild or dangerous domesticated or undomesticated animals.
It also calls for a variety of imported animals to be registered and carry official certificates issued by the authorities within 30 working days from the effective date of the law.
The complete law on regulating possession of dangerous animals, with details on banned animals, penalties and fines, is available on MoCCAE’s official website.