Greed of pet shops and struggle of shelters in Kingdom


By Sohoub Baghdadi

HAVING a pet in the house has a positive impact beyond the psychological and physical well being of the individuals. It is undeniable that many animal lovers in Saudi Arabia do not know the struggle of animals behind the scenes of fancy pet shops.

Cats are being sold at an average price from SR1,000 to SR3,000 depending on the cat breed. The arising question here is why do buyers spend that high a price on a furry friend while they can adopt one for free?

In fact, there are many shelters and initiatives in every city in the Kingdom from where they can adopt their furry friend. Bear in mind, pet shops know pretty well that their customers lack awareness and truthful information concerning their inhumane activities.

In this matter, I met with an extraordinary person who owns a shelter and an initiative intended to raise awareness toward animals and finding them new homes. Dr. Lana, the founder of Open Paws Clinic, is a vet who works behind the scenes. As she welcomes numerous street and lost cats every single day, she told me that here the initiative is struggling to get sponsorship from the entitled authorities.

With a total of 150 cats and a rabbit under one roof, she provides food and other necessities at her own expense and that is a true challenge. She also stressed on the need of raising awareness among people in Saudi Arabia who have a role in spreading and continuing the cycle of animal misery.

There are several places, such as pet shops and Souk Al Hamam, where many animals are encaged for an unknown period of time facing negligence and malnutrition. Almost every pet shop owner would not treat sick animals and injured ones instead they will simply throw them away to face their fate.

People need to remember that behind that fancy showroom there is a miserable animal who is being used for breeding and then kicked out after it no longer can produce. Undoubtedly, that is against every verse in Qur’an and Hadith on mercy and doing good for living souls.