A Dubai café owner is under investigation for allowing a captive cheetah to prowl around the restaurant.
At the time the cheetah was allowed into the café in Al Wasl, the outlet was not yet formally opened.
But the visuals of the cheetah in the café on social media earlier this month created a storm, and according to Gulf News, the UAE’s top government official responsible for animal welfare is investigating the incident and the cafe owner’s action.
The cafe’s owner apologized, and claimed that she was unaware of the country’s laws pertaining to exotic pets.
A collection of videos was posted on the cafe’s Instagram page earlier this month. Clips also showed the cheetah eating meat on the cafe floor.
You can see the full video here: pic.twitter.com/YvbHBk4O1P— Ed Clowes ادوارد كلاوس (@EdClowes) August 17, 2018
Later, the cafe removed the eight videos from its page.
The owner of the cafe told Gulf News that she “got carried away by the sight of the cheetah.”
According to her, she said that she saw a man park his vehicle outside her restaurant and wanted to inform him that the cafe was not yet open. Then she saw the cheetah in the car, invited the man and the cheetah in.
The owner denied that she was using the cheetah’s images to promote her café and the cheetah was “was just a baby” and did not pose a danger to her friends and family who were around when the incident took place
Bringing a cheetah into a cafe or any public space in the UAE is illegal, and poses a “great risk to people’s lives”.
We all need to work to together to highlight and stop the illegal pet Cheetah trade. Cheeath cubs are stolen from the wild to supply the demand. It has to STOP #UAE #Dubai #IWT #IllegalWildlifeTrade https://t.co/9474u3so1U— CCF Cheetah UK (@CCFCheetahUK) August 18, 2018
Hiba Al Shehi, acting director of the biodiversity department at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, stated to Gulf News that bringing a cheetah into a public space in the UAE was illegal, and posed a “great risk to people’s lives”.
The official said that under Federal Law No 22 of 2016 the possession of dangerous animals, and aims to stop individuals from owning, trading and breeding all types of dangerous, wild and exotic animals.
She added that an investigation of the cafe and its owner would be carried out, in coordination with authorities in Dubai.
The cheetah would also be confiscated soon, according to the report, quoting some sources close to the investigation.