Cruel pet hotel owner in Riyadh could face serious consequences

Tamara Abueish

Published: Updated:

A recent trending hashtag on Twitter called upon officials to investigate possible animal torture in a pet hotel owned by a woman in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

As this incident went viral on social media among Saudi circles, images from the hotel showed possible neglect and poor hygienic conditions inside the hotel which resulted in some cats starving or dying.

Taghreed Ali Asiri, the Twitter user who started the hashtag, told Al Arabiya that she shared the “disturbing” pictures of her cat, after she repurchased him from the woman who runs the pet hotel.

Asiri had previously sold her cat to the woman, but she bought him back four months later when she found out he was on sale.

To Asiri’s surprise, the cat she received looked nothing like the pet she used to own. She said: “He was completely transformed from the fluffy pet I had to nothing but skin and bones. The woman was clearly not feeding him.”

Asiri took to Twitter to share before and after pictures of her cat, and she was met with an influx of users whose cats had also been maltreated by the same woman.

Her cat was admitted to a veterninary clinic, but died two days later as a result of his deteriorating health.

Another animal abuse case shocks Saudi Arabia

A few months ago, a Saudi court ordered the imprisonment of a young offender, fining him around $50,000 after appearing in multiple videos attacking cats with a hunting rifle.

The offence was a violation of both the Ethical Treatment of Animals laws, as well as cyberspace laws.

The offender was also guilty of owning a gun without a license.

The man, who was in his twenties, purposefully shot the animals with a hunting rifle.

He documented his crimes with his smartphone camera, and posted the incident on his Snapchat account, which angered many Saudis on social media.

The local authorities reacted to the incident and arrested him. After investigating the crime, the man was referred to the court to receive his sentence.

Applying strict measures

Saudi Arabia continued its efforts to apply strict measures in regard to the ethical treatment of animals and violators.

Punishments range from imprisonment to fines that start from $15,000, and could reach up to $100,000.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture established a committee last May to raise awareness on the need to treat animals humanely, and to enforce legal regulations that punish and criminalize violators.

A recent exhibition titled “Treating Animals Ethically Is Everybody’s Responsibility”, was launched by the government which has been widely welcomed and well attended by the public.

Additionally, monitoring teams were set up to document and report any violations towards animals on farms and at markets.

They can also report incidents of violators who post images and videos depicting cruelty towards animals on social media to the authorities.

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