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MOCCAE Announces Enforcement of New Federal Law Regulating Possession of Dangerous Animals

In line with the directives of UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has announced the enforcement of the new Federal Law No. 22 of 2016 to regulate the possession of dangerous animals. The law aims to stop individuals from owning, trading and breeding all types of dangerous, wild and exotic animals and protect humans’ lives and health.

His Excellency Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The new law aims to safeguard community members from the risks that may be caused by these animals, as well as to protect those animals from extinction. However, animal welfare cannot be achieved by legislation alone, strict implementation is more important to deal with any illegal activities. Therefore, we have taken several steps towards raising awareness among the public and professionals on the benefits of keeping animal welfare standards, strengthening supervision and monitoring systems and encouraging best practices in this area.”

The new federal law comes in the wake of the success of the First UAE National Conference on Animal Welfare, organised by the Ministry from 2-3 November, 2016 as the first national conference ever within the country and the region concerning animal welfare.

“The conference underlined UAE’s special attention on the constant follow-up of the animal welfare procedures and its development in accordance with the best international standards and practices to build an integrated platform for the animal welfare. The new law on the possession of dangerous animals is an important addition to the UAE laws regulating animal welfare and the international trade in endangered species”, Al Zeyoudi explained.

Under the new law on regulating possession of dangerous animals, which took effect immediately after being published in the official gazette, those who use an animal to attack people and the assault causes death will face life imprisonment. In the event the attack causes a disability, a prison term of up to seven years will be imposed. If other minor injuries are inflicted, a prison term of not more than a year and a fine of up to Dh10,000 will be given. Those who use animals to terrorise people will face a jail term and/or a fine ranging from Dh10,000 to Dh400,000.

The law states that only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres are entitled to keep dangerous, wild or exotic animals and all permits issued to other entities to import such animals will revoked. It also encourages people to report any abandoned animals to the authorities or to the nearest police station and the current owners of exotic animals will have to hand these animals over to authorities within six months from the effective date of the law.

Dog owners must obtain a license and vaccinations for their pets from local authorities within six months from the effective date of the law and keep them on a leash at all times when in public. Those who fail to do so will face a fine of at least Dh10,000, but not more than Dh100,000.

Apart from banning the unlicensed ownership of wild and dangerous animals, the law also stipulates the need for stricter records of wild or dangerous domesticated or undomesticated animals. It also calls for all kinds of imported animals to be registered and carry official certificates issued by the authorities within 30 working days from the effective date of the law.

The complete law on regulating possession of dangerous animals, with details on banned animals, penalties and fines, is available on MOCCAE’s official website:

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