Yes, yet another idiotic attempt to solve a small problem with a ill-considered blanket ban rule that punishes everyone needlessly and fails to actually solve the problem. I wonder which civil servant half-wit thought this one up?
The ruling, published in mid-January, had escaped my notice - probably because I don't have a dog. But it would seem to put an end to evening strolls with your dog. Early morning horseback-rides (or camel rides?) on the beach must now be considered to be illegal too.
Now, there was a couple of real problems that arguably did need addressing - selfish and inconsiderate dog owners who would let their animals run around off the leash on public beaches (especially problematic at Intercon beach), and dog owners who leave their dog shit all over the place instead of picking it up.
Many people (me included) don't like strange dogs running around uncontrolled in public places, and most Muslims certainly do not like touching dogs as they are considered unclean*. And no-one of course likes seeing dog shit everywhere, especially on beaches or in parks.
But this stupid law doesn't address at all those real problems (uncontrolled dogs, dog shit). What is does do is:
- stop decent dog owners who do keep their dog on a leash from exercising them in the morning or evening,
- bans all animals from all public spaces except 10-3, thus banning morning horse rides on the beach (probably inadvertently)
- fail to address the issue of dog shit.
- fail to address the issue of keeping dogs controlled in public.
Leash/clean-up laws, especially on beaches, are common practice throughout the world. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the best way to deal with unleashed dogs and dog-shit:
Does anyone with a brain in Muscat Municipality actually think about their by-laws, how they would work, effectiveness, etc etc? This one is up there with the sign banning football on Intercon beach (really), and the sign warning people not to swim after a few youngsters (who couldn't swim) drowned on the beach near Crown Plaza.
The Oman Women's Guild are actually putting together a petition to have the walkies restriction law changed. Good luck ladies. These are the sort of laws that just make things worse, by creating a law that will be ignored.
PETITION AGAINST ENFORCED ANIMAL WALKING TIMES
February 28th 2009
We all feel very frustrated and disappointed at the new ruling enforcing all animal owners to only be allowed to walk their animals between the hours of 10am and 3pm. It is a breach of personal choice and freedom and an infringement on human and animal rights.
We cannot be expected to walk our animals at these hours because of 3 fundamental reasons:
1) It is far too hot to walk during these hours, with or without a pet, particularly in the summer
2) People should have the freedom to walk their animals whenever they wish to
3) The majority of people with animals work, so people are in the office during these hours
However, if a rule needs to be imposed, then make a rule that animals must be on a lead whilst being walked, and owners must clean up after their animals.
If you want to put your name on the petition, the places to go are here:
URGENT- ON BEHALF OF ALL PET DOGS AND THERE HUMANS
Please read the attachment Pet Notice for the back ground to the following request
We want to collect as many signatures as possible on a petition to be handed to the authorities on Tuesday 10th March. WG members will be at various points on Saturday and Sunday as follows, please go along and add your signature to the Petition. The more we have the better; you don't have to be a pet owner to sign.
There is some urgency to this matter as the notice was first published on 17th January 2009. By Law we have a 2 month period to make an appeal, and we have only till 17th March to voice our concerns. Time is running out . . .
Signature collection points:
Jawharat Al Shatti
10am – 11.30am
10am – 12noon
City centre (Seeb)
4pm – 5pm
4pm – 6pm
* Muslims and dogs
I'm no expert on this, but it's generally accepted that in Islam dogs are unclean animals, and special washing rituals are required after a Muslim has come in contact with a dog. However, I know several muslim Omani who happily own dogs. Some muslim dog-fanciers also say that while a strange dog is unclean, once you have 'cleansed' your own dog it's then OK to touch it without special worries.
It would seem the main injunction is to wash before praying after coming in contact with a dog's saliva or moisture - see for example Islamic Concern: dogs, and Islam Online.