Authorities in Abu Dhabi have confirmed they have launched an investigation after more than 100 cats – many of them dead – were found in a desert in the UAE capital as they condemned the “inhumane act.”
As Al Arabiya English reported last week, animal rescuers were left horrified after the cats and kittens were discovered in the al-Falah area of the UAE capital, close to the emirate’s Falcon Hospital.
To date, more than 50 cats were found dead in stages of rigor mortis in the desert, while a further 84 were found alive, although many suffered from dehydration and malnutrition. Rescuers are now working to rehome the cats found alive.
Almost all of the cats were found to have been microchipped and neutered through TNR (trap, neuter, release programs).
Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) on Wednesday confirmed that it has initiated investigations into the incident.
In a statement, it said: “The DMT immediately began the investigations after receiving the report and will take all relevant administrative and legal measures.”
“The DMT has stressed that it has taken all necessary measures to establish the reasons behind this act, noting that investigations are still underway in coordination with the relevant authorities to identify perpetrators of this inhumane act, which contradicts civilized morals and values.”
“The DMT has also underscored that it values the sentiments of the public and activists and recognizes the contributions of volunteers in responding to this incident.”
“The DMT urged them to cooperate and communicate to share any details related to the incident, to ensure that the recurrence of practices conflicting with the DMT’s stance on animal welfare are duly averted.”
Tadweer, the government department responsible for pest control, uses several contractors to deal with stray cats. They are usually taken to the Falcon Hospital, where they are checked for disease and, if found to be healthy, are neutered and returned to the community where they were found.
But the scores of cats found left animal rescuers outraged, with many telling Al Arabiya English that they thought the felines had been dumped en masse by pest controllers.
Video footage shared with Al Arabiya English showed scores of cats lying dead or buried in the sand.
Speaking to Al Arabiya English, Chiku, an expatriate, visited the location to help save the cats. She described the site as a “massacre.”
Jacqueline Appleby, who lives in Khalifa City, had also visited the site after being alerted by a rescuer who volunteers for animal welfare in the emirate.
“The smell will haunt me forever,” she said. “It is absolutely horrific. There were many, many dead cats lying around.”
"Hundreds of UAE residents came together to work day and night to rescue and treat the abandoned cats. It is a step forwards to hear that DMT have launched their investigation. More than 50 bodies of cats have been found in the areas. It is unimaginable the suffering they must have gone through."
The DMT called on the public to report any abuse or neglect that exposes animals to danger by contacting 800 555.