The Ministry of Environment (MoE) is to build a public shelter for stray animals at Umm Salal Mohamed area.
The shelter, to be built on around 3,000sqm of land, has been approved by the government. The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) will start work on it in January next year. It is expected to be completed by December 2015.
Currently, the MoE has a temporary shelter for such animals in Nuaija, which does not have enough space or the capability to house the increasing number of stray and abandoned animals in the country. The Veterinary Unit of MoE is tasked with taking care of such animals, mostly stray dogs and cats.
The Central Municipal Council (CMC) Service and Utility Committee hosted yesterday Saleh Jarallah al-Merri, head of Veterinary Services at MoE and Dr Yusri Radwan, consultant of animal health at MoE to discuss the issue of stray animals and housing them. The issue was raised based on a request submitted by a Qatari citizen to the CMC regarding animal care and sheltering stray animals.
The man said in his request that he has been taking care of stray and abandoned dogs and cats for a long time and that keeps them in his own private farm. He said that he has a large number of these animals and spends from his own pocket to provide them with the necessary care.
Eventually, he submitted a request to the authorities to grant him a plot of land to house such animals and spare the inhabitants of the country from any annoyance or harm that might be caused by the uncontrolled presence of these animals. He submitted another request to establish a society for animal care. However, he regretted that he had not received any positive response.
The Environment Ministry officials at the meeting pointed out that the issue of granting a plot of land for the purpose came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, not MoE. They also explained that there are currently some temporary shelters for these animals around the country, whether at the houses of animal lovers or at the different Veterinary Centres.
They stressed that at the international level, Qatar has signed an agreement on animal welfare and become a member of the International Coalition for Animal Welfare (ICFAW). At the local level, a draft law has been prepared for animal welfare, which has got an initial approval, pending the final approval of the Cabinet.
Further, there have been many expats and locals in Qatar dealing with the issue since 1995 and Ministry of Environment provides them with the necessary veterinarian services. MoE has a special consultative committee to deal with stray animals in a professional manner.
The Environment Ministry has stipulated some technical specifications to grant a permit for animal shelter. These include providing a plot of land which is not less than 600sqm, the land should be away from any mosque by at least 200m and away from schools by at least 500m. It should also be away from residential areas and have an adequate drainage system.
Eventually, it was decided that the CMC committee would prepare detailed reports on the issue with the necessary recommendations to be discussed in an upcoming session of the council.
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