Stop poisoning cats and dogs!

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A video recently went viral on social media that showed the inhumanity of Jeddah Municipality when it comes to street cats. The video seems to have been recorded by a member of the public who was shocked to see what was happening.

The video shows how the municipality imprisons cats in cages that are so small that the cats are barely able to stand. What is even worse is that, according to an online campaign against animal cruelty, these cats are then killed in cold blood! This, unfortunately, seems to have been going on for years but has any attempt been made to stop it?

It was reported in the past that the municipality was poisoning stray dogs as a way of decreasing their numbers. Do these dogs not have souls and emotions like us? Do they not deserve to live on this earth as well? Why are we humans so selfish that we kill innocent animals who have not even hurt us?

A few weeks ago, the Jeddah Municipality denied poisoning the cats and said that they were relocated elsewhere. However, according to the video it seems that the cats were captured and then released in the desert. Let us assume that it is true and that they are not poisoning cats or dogs, would it be justified to release them in the desert where they will surely die?

Those responsible make the illogical claim that dogs are harmful to people and that they should be poisoned, even if they are puppies. I would like to tell the municipality and people who believe dogs are harmful that on a recent visit to Turkey, I saw dogs in the streets interacting peacefully with people. I also noticed that they all had tags attached to their ears. I wondered why this was the case.

Apparently, stray dogs are caught, vaccinated, tagged for identification purposes and then released again in Turkey. Why can we not do the same, as this does not involve killing them? Does the municipality seriously believe that killing dogs and cats will help the environment?

To be honest, this strategy is not ideal as the dogs end up in the street. It is, however, better than killing them. It would be much better to establish animal shelters in the Kingdom. Why are some countries, such as the United States, able to establish dog shelters while we are unable to do so?

In reference to people who say that dogs are disliked and that as an Islamic country we should not do anything for them, I would like to remind them of a hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him). “Once a man suffered from thirst while he was walking on a journey. When he found a well, he climbed down into it and drank from it. Then he came out and saw a dog lolling its tongue from thirst and licking the ground. The man said: ‘This dog has suffered thirst just as I have suffered from it.’ So he climbed down into the well, filled his shoe with water, and caught it in his mouth as he climbed up. Then he gave the dog a drink. Allah appreciated this deed and so He forgave him.” This incident is mentioned in Sahih Muslim.

If the Almighty forgave this man for only giving a dog some water, then does it not show the importance of being kind to animals? I truly believe that this is a serious issue that needs the collaboration of all people, whether or not they are animal lovers. We need to work with each other to lobby the municipality to change its strategies and use other ways of dealing with this issue. What they are doing is not even a solution. They are actually harming the environment!

In the beginning, the municipality justified killing dogs because they believed that they were harmful and dangerous. Even if we were to assume that dogs are harmful and dangerous, since when did cats become dangerous?

Animal lovers in the Kingdom are using an Arabic hashtag on Twitter which is translated as #stop_poisoning to lobby the authorities to stop animal cruelty. I am shocked at how the municipalities advertise their cruelty on social media as if what they were doing is something to be proud of. What difference is there between them and the man who was arrested on the orders of Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal for killing cats? Do municipality officials not deserve to be punished for killing cats?

If my cat were to go out of the house accidentally and be poisoned, what would the municipality gain? Is this the Islamic way in dealing with animals? The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said: “A woman was tormented because of a cat which she had confined until it died and she had to enter Hell. She did not allow it either to eat or drink as it was confined, nor did she free it so that it might eat the insects of the earth.”


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