Sunday 4 November 2012

Lions and tigers as pets in villas terrify neighbours

Some people have big cats like lions and tigers in their homes as pets in flagrant violation of the country’s laws and without realising the threat these predators pose to them and their neighbours who live in constant fear and are exposed to severe health hazards.

A number of nationals have been complaining that some families living in their neighbourhood have tigers and lions as domesticated animals.

A citizen has claimed in remarks to Al Sharq that he knew a fellow citizen who had allocated rooms in his spacious residential compound for tigers which he had been raising as pets.

“Not only that, the man keeps the main gate of his large residence open all the time so children living in the vicinity keep frequenting the place just to look at the intriguing large and powerful carnivores,” the citizen was quoted as saying. “This is indeed a very dangerous thing.”

Complainants have expressed fear that even if these dangerous predators are kept securely caged inside residential compounds a typical stench hangs in the air in the entire area all the time which poses a severe health hazard.

And who knows how securely these animals are kept or caged by their so-called lovers. The beasts could break free and escape and seriously threaten people’s lives. “I don’t think people having such dangerous domesticated animals are equipped properly to take care of them. Most of these pets actually live in neglect,” said a complainant.

“These animals are predators and even at play their huge size and strength make them a threat, and who knows a careless owner might open the cage and forget to close it,” said the complainant.

When told about it, lawyer Mohasin Thiyab Al Suwaidi said it is a punishable offence under Qatar’s laws to keep dangerous animals as pets and anyone who knows about places other than a licenced zoo that have such animals must immediately inform the Interior Ministry. “Keeping dangerous animals at home as pets is more severe an offence than having unlicenced arms,” he told The Peninsula.

In case such a pet is let loose and attacks a person, its owner is to be held accountable. “Qatar’s laws are clear on this,” said the lawyer. The law allows such animals to be killed because their presence in residential areas poses severe threat to life and property.

Source: The Peninsula

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