Monday, April 12, 2010

Don't buy a dog in Oman - another example of how badly Animals are treated in Oman

I know, Y magazine did a great bust on the helpless animal concentration and torture camp , oops, er, "Zoo", a couple of months ago. Readers may note that the "Zoo" is apparently still open for business and, so I hear, was even threatening Y with a law suit for having the audacity to actually publish the facts of their disgusting mistreatment of animals. After-all, it doesn't seem to be illegal in Oman to do that to animals.

But I received a nasty report on how those cute little puppies in the pet stores are obtained and treated. And it's mainly our own fault.

Photo: The cute puppy from the Sabco pet shop, "Creatures", that was about to die a horrific death a few days later.

Omani regulations require that a dog imported for sale is at least 4 months old. 16 weeks. And, naturally, that it's had its shots against common (and very nasty and usually fatal) doggy diseases, like distemper.

The problem is that this regulation is subverted as a matter of standard operating procedure by pet shops providing fake documentation. Now, while providing such false documents carries a penalty under Omani law of 3 to 10 years in jail, this ain't happening, naturally.

This is the story I received from a reliable source.

A fairly traumatic time in purchasing a new puppy from the pet shop in Sabco Centre.

To cut a long story short, the puppy was transferred from the shop to the vet clinic last week for some jabs etc. We arranged to pick it up today, but when we got there we were told it was about to die from Parvovirus. In 3 days it went from a lively, playful pup to a bag of bones dying in its own vomit – horrible to see.

Of course puppies do get illnesses and some do not survive. However, the way in which this pet shop has ignored the basic rules is shocking.

I attach herewith the "Pet Passport" we were given when we bought her, and the actual Kennel Club Reg / Birth Certificate.

The "Pet Passport" shows a DOB of 25 Nov 2009. The real birth certificate states the CORRECT DOB as 10 Jan 2010.

When I initially queried the difference, we were told that puppies are not allowed to be imported younger than 4 months of age, so the paperwork is fiddled. This seems to be a perfectly acceptable practice as far as the pet shop was concerned.

The pet shop... is complicit in breaking the rules and putting these animals health at risk.

The vet said that this puppy (and many others) was exported / imported at far too young an age. Also, its vaccinations were given far too young to be effective. (In fact, they would probably have proved harmful). This pet shop has always had a bad reputation when it comes to animal welfare. However, lately we thought they had improved.

People need to know that our puppy is suffering a horrible death covered in its own excrement just because they ignored the rules, and put money first.

Our dog had her DHPP Vaccine (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus) at 2 WEEKS of age (on 25/1/10 as indicated on the pet passport). The following states that it should only be given at 6 weeks+ to start taking over the maternal antibodies.


The high demand for pedigree puppies is fuelling this trade, which can be avoided if more people who want a dog approach the local Animal Rescue Charities, who have many dozen dogs at foster homes.

There is a very reputable, well run Pet Shop in Dubai who discuss at length these sort of problems in the UAE pet scene. These problems are:
- importing too young
- obtaining dogs from horrific "puppy farms" in the 3rd world (in the case above the dog was 'farmed' in Thailand)
- not effectively quarantining dogs before selling them
- not looking after the animals properly.

Of course, their dogs cost a lot more, as all that good treatment and European sourcing ain't free. Around 1,200 rials each. Our correspondent's dog from the Sabco death camp was (a still rather pricey) 650 rials. As is often the case in Oman, we tend to do things on the cheap, and suffer the results.


Just STOP!

There are thousands of abandoned dogs in need of a loving home. If you must have a dog (and do remember this is a Muslim country and populated by people who are generally not big doggie fans) get one of these. Contact any vet.

If you simply MUST have a fancy pure bread dog, import it yourself, perhaps through these nice people in Dubai. And always make sure it hasn't come from some nasty 3rd world breeding farm.

I know our dog buyer has learnt a lesson. But I'll be the first to point out what an idiot he was buying this dog in the first place. Ms Dragon would lock him in a cage and infect him with parvovirus if she had her want.

* and stop buying those long haired fancy cats too. Who does that??? Haven't you noticed it gets rather *%&^% hot in this country?


  1. It reminds me of my two pets. They died because of a similar thing. They were so cute.

    Ok they are my fictional pets. You can find them in chapter... I think 7 or 8 of my novel. I know that it happens anyway and I'm glad to make a note, albeit small, in the story about that.

  2. we have these SAME issues in Doha. AND our pet shops have cheetahs, baboons and crazy animals like that which should never be pets.

    I still keep searching for a small dog to adopt here...but I've had no luck.

    1. cheetah ?? baboons?? in doha pet shop???

  3. Cheers for raising this issue, Dragon. You're really the last (or, perhaps, the first bastion of hope)

    I have two dogs - one is from Sabco. I like to think my wife and I rescued the poor bugger as it had been on its own for quite some time. The treatment of the dogs is absdolutely disgusting and a complete ban (unless through a certified European breeder) should be in place. These pet shops a horrendous.

    Please give us an update and don't forget to name and shame those involved.

    Cheers mate.


  4. The dog in the picture was right next to our Bruno who died the same way. The horrible part of it os the way they lied to us at the vet clinic and how lightly they took it.

  5. I think a lot of people would be happy to hand Ms Dragon the syringe for her good works. Good luck persuading people who can only abide pedigree pets to take on a lowly street cat though; these are people who I am fairly sure who genetically engineer their own children to be pretty and pure-looking if given the chance.

  6. These pet shops in Muscat should ALL be shut down. This is not the only unethical trading pet shop in Muscat...there is one opposite Nandos next to Qurum Commercial Centre that is just as BAD!!

    Pet lovers should adopt a pet from the local Vet that is in need of a home instead of paying up to OMR 600 for an ill puppy. This is sad and inhumane and the Ministry should step in to shut them down!!!

  7. I adopted a wadi-dog that was originally picked up by a British couple. However, they discarded her as they relocated back to the UK and she was shifted from home to home. Thankfully, no one threw her back on the streets since she was already quite domesticated by this time and probably wouldn't have lasted long out there.

  8. This is so heartbreaking. I have heard so many such stories and each time I hear a new one a little more of me dies. Have you seen those gorgeous little things all alone in their cages in that filthy shop? have you tried talking to those men in that shop? It's heart breaking to go see any of those animals and birds there. What a sad sad story.

  9. Unfortunately the problem lies with attitudes out here toward animals in both UAE and Oman. Most of these shops started catering for Western Expats but eventually others joined in as it was cool to say you have a pet but dont know the first rule of owning these pets.

    While at the same time there are people out there who dont want these animals around and throw poison over peoples walls in villas for dogs or in the streets for the cats.

    The other part is that alot of these pet owners are also cruel themselves incl Western Expats who have to leave and just abandon the animal even though we have animal shelters who would come and collect the unwanted creature.

    To stop all this you need authorities to put in place strong regulations. In Dubai we have Pet Passports obtained from the baladia when you take your pet for registration and vaccinations and they insert a computerised chip into the animal too. Unfortunately Oman need to do same - have a government vetinary service centre for a fee like UAE and make it compulsory for all animals privately owned to be registered or else face a fine. By the way in UAE they GVS also provide services for farms too - so in a way it is also a thriving business that generates revenue for the Government while maintaining control of all animal welfare within the country.


  10. Good commentary on the commercial pet trade. People should ALWAYS seek a rescue animal where possible. Adopt a street cat or Wadi dog today!

  11. Dog & Cat loving people - the horrible truth is, when you buy an animal from a pet shop they will simply bring in another to take its place. Stop buying Pets (or anything else for that matter) and the pet shops will go out of business.

    In the meantime, there are hundreds of cats and dogs available from every decent Vet surgery in the Sultanate.

    The vets here charge much less for their services than their colleages in the western world, and take care of strays & unwanted animals out of the goodness of their heart.

    They don't do it as a business.

    It's a no-brainer, really!

    PS: If Mrs Dragon would like an assistant, I'm first in line.

  12. Can I point out that some of the European puppy farms are just as bad, particularly those in the former Eastern European states. At the moment in the UK there is a huge problem with pedigree dogs who have been interbred. The narrow gene pools is producing dogs with some very serious, very expensive, life shortening diseases.

    Unless you can visit the home of the dogs, and verfiy what you are being told, the chances are you are going to be sold a dog of dubious parentage and health!

  13. Dear All,
    I am the person who provided Dragon with the information for this blog.
    May I ask that anybody who has had similar experiences, whether at Sabco or elsewhere, send me the details on All information received will be treated in the STRICTEST of confidence. My intention is to raise this problem with the highest authorities - if we do not at least try, nothing will ever happen. Thank you.

  14. go onto there under animal cruelty, is mention of 'Creatures". 10yrs ago, I snatched a puppy from that place as it was sat in TERRIBLE conditions, he chased me from the shop,threatening to call the police, now, we still have that little dog (Holly) and she is deaf. Also, my son brought a pug from there, cos he felt so sorry for it, they had fiddled the passport, he was 7wks not 4mths, all his brothers died of parvo. he has been reported already, lots of times. Maybe have a word with the centre owners???

  15. I totally agree that the petshop situation here is just dreadful - I could never bring myself to purchase a puppy from that awful concentration camp. However can I just say that not all people that want pedigree puppies are bad and evil people.

    We recently purchased, from a very good home indeed, a beautiful pedigree puppy. Many years ago in another country we adopted a feral dog, took it with us to another Far Easten location where it had two puppies, all of whom we kept. The original dog then sadly, got run over and we were transferred back to the UK. Unsure of our future we left our dogs in a well reputed kenel where one of them died and one arrived in the UK so emaciated it was shocking to see. That dog had been badly abused and was never the same again, he was untrainable and when we had our son, would growl and snap at him. He had to be re-homed with much regret.

    This time around we decided to go for a pedigree dog, we have children, we want them to be safe, so we chose a dog from a background of which we are fully aware and from a home that we have visited many times, we are very happy with our decision.

    The idea of adopting a Wadi dog is a wonderful one if you are in the right situation - however it is not right for everyone. I'm just saying !

    Never buy a dog from that dreadful petshop though - whatever you do.


  16. All this is so horrible to hear! If we get a cat in Muscat, we'll get it from a pet rescue charity.

  17. I will sincerely support any campaign against these pet shops. There really is a strong voice against such cruelty and with the infamous Undercover Dragon fronting this campaign, we can't go wrong. The pet shops need to stop selling Dogs, Cats and Birds with immediate effect.

  18. Messages of support for a movement to have the law enforced please: Thanks. Confidence assured.

  19. If anyone has pictures of cruelty from ANY petshop in Oman, please email it to - urgently.

  20. My little puppy, bought from a pet store here in Muscat, died a terrible death before he was 6 months old. His constant scratching and chewing was never diagnosed but the vet suspected a neurological disease as a result of inbreeding. He cost OR 900 and we spent a fortune on vet visits and meds. He was even on Prozac. In spite of all this he scratched and chewed large flaps of skin from his throat and shoulder and was suffering so badly we had him put down.
    This was a terrible lesson to learn and I still have nightmares about it.
    Thanks for calling attention to this horrible problem in our beautiful city.

  21. Devil's Advocate - are you small enough to fit on my lap or not to intimidate my children yet snippy enough to remind me to feed you? But most importantly, I only want a dog who will chew up my shoes so I will have an excuse to buy more...this is a REQUIREMENT! If you can't fulfill those needs, then I'm sorry, cannot be my dog.

  22. Dragon, you quote (and link to) 'a very reputable pet shop in Dubai' - I have to tell you that this very same so-called reputable 'pet shop' does exactly the same as the Sabco shop... I was told that the date of birth of my cat was fudged on the passport as at 4 months old once they are imported the cat would not look so much like a cute kitten... and I can only imagine that the reputable source you have linked to continues to do this despite what they like to say on their website. We are lucky, our kitten survived and although I now realise he is over-bred now I know better...and will not make the same mistake again... but please check out your links before recommending a place as 'reputable' - :)

  23. Muscat,Oman
    HELP to find a loving home!!!!
    We found a female puppy,she is very cute and friendly and around 5 months old.unfortunately we can't keep her as we already have a male rescue dog and he is very territorial.The puppy is provided with food and water everyday and lives under the tree near our house in seeb.(i can't even keep her in our garden,because of the other dog)the house is near the road and I'm always worried that she can be hit by the car..or abused by local children.
    I'm planning to vaccinated and spay her in the end of the month.If anyone can give a loving home(or foster her) please email thank you very much

  24. All pet shops in Oman should be closed down
    Those people who own them do not care
    about animals only in making money.
    I do not know who helps them to import those poor dogs, but they are breaking the law. They obviously have someone who forges the certificates.
    I have exported animals from Muscat and believe me the check at the Airport is very thorough.
    Adopt from the Animal Rescue Centre or the Vets in Qurum, they have a few lovely wadi dogs waiting to be homed

  25. I hate pet shops!!they dont care about the welfare of their pets.Yes,adopt a stray dogs and cats are better,you can find them everywhere.

  26. First of all i need you all to be aware that according to most country rules, a pet before being transported should not eat several hours before being transported so when you said was covered in its own litter that truely did not make sense to me. + A DHLPP is suppose to be given at the age of 6 to 8 weeks as a puppy and we are making sure this is happening everywhere than a booster in 3 to 4 weeks and as per the cleanliness i paid a visit at the pet shop in sabco and i was studying them especially after the y magazine article and i saw with my own eyes the excellence in cleanliness i have witnessed at the creatures they have appointed 2men who are fully and completely devoted to the dog section, any litter they soon have the sheets changed and discard the litter immidiately out through their back door+ not only do they feed their dogs their normal meals on their meal time they even give them treats give them chewing products that take great care of their dental hygine as well so before having to point fingers at the pet shops just by visiting the petshop for an hour or 2 cause you cannot make a whole life decision u need to spend a whole day and see the way they take care of their animals. Secondly, when you are saying that animals die since we import them at a very young age let me tell you no business person would like a loss to its own business so why the hell would they want to get young animals knowing later on they are going to pass away + now days there are local breeders in oman it self who give away the babies at the age of 2 months yes the law says 4 months for importing which of course we have to abide by and resepect the rules, but just as a knowledge from my online sources a study the milk of the mother 48 hours from day of delievery is the milk that has the greatest immunity for the pup. DHLPP is not suppose to be given before 6 to 8 weeks and since u mentioned 2 weeks thats impossible not only will it be ineffective towards their immune system it will be a risk for the puppy to survive and would definately die. So please make sure of your words and statement before having to point fingers + due to the competition many people are pointing fingers wrongly at others which is really very unethical.

  27. Also the kind people who take on wadi dogs and puppies should think about what a commitment it is. My neighbour who found a wadi dog and took it in only to leave it outside barking till all hours, then bought a puppy to keep it company,obviously did not think about what she was doing! now both dogs have been left at the house whilst the kind owner has moved house. the dogs are let out to bark twice a day, but at the end of next month when the lease is up im sure they will be let loose to roam and BARK all over Madinat Qaboos. (almost as bad as the pet shops i think)

  28. hello all!
    can anybody tell me the name of a trustable vet in muscat? my adopted wadi dog got pregnant and gave birth to five little sweet puppies last week. i cant keep all of them with me, but my family in germany will adopt one or two. still i have no idea what rules i have to follow importing puppies to germany. does anyone have advice?
    thanks a lot in advance.

  29. CREATURES always has and always will be known for their animal cruelty. I used to go in there, and buy toys & treats for them poor pathetic puppies, the owner watched me like a hawk incase I took photo's. I'm Omani and lived here all my life, so I do know what I'm talking about,also I happen to personally know the lady who dognapped Holly 10 yrs ago, and she was totally justified in doing so.That poor dog was sat in the window in the summer(in those days the dogs were in glass fish tanks located where the aquariums are now).She was sat in her own shyte, dehydrating and full of tics, in her ears, eyes EVERYWHERE.Holly has a happy ending, she is still alive and has 2 other spitzs sisters, she is loved by everyone. Also, Creatures, had (they may still have) the "Dungeon" below the shop a filthy, hot & dark area where they keep their boarding dogs (that is, the moment the owners leave,assuming thir dogs wuill stay upstairs in the shop). The owner is a greedy money grabbing monster, who should have been shut down years ago. I have even approached the owners of Sabco, as they have the right to close him down, but then I guess, he will just open up in a new location.Regarding Qurum vets, having been a foster parent for the past 5yrs for recovering or rehoming dogs,, I can assure everyone, every single member of their staff are total animal lovers, they take animals home to recover and if you read on Oman forum, they often pay for stray animals medical treatment. I hope this clears up all you doubting Thomas's, regards, lover of all animals.

  30. Animal cruelty should be stopped. One solution to this is through supporting animal rescue charities. People should be educated on how to value the life of animals.

  31. I ahvepedigree labrador puppies in the UK and have had a request to purchase one from Bahrain. I dont know wha to do, they are English but I dont waN TO PUT MY PUPPY AT RISK.

  32. Concerned about exporting. PatN

  33. just to update everyone. here we are in 2012 and if anything the situation has worsened.More pet shops opening up,more SLAUGHTERING of defensless animals by the old bill (I will chosse my words carefully). It's like a sport to them,target practice!!I can't believe that the powers to be, turn a blind eye to this. It seems like we are going backwards, as in the 80s they used to announce on the local radio that they would be out shooting wild dogs on a Friday (day or worship!!) to keep pets inside. Now, they just shoot when ever they want & where ever they want,regardless of human welfare.Imagine how traumatising this is for the poor dogs and of course on-lookers.My dream is for the authorities to recognise the problem and act on it,neutering the stray dogs & cats is the first step, opening a welfare centre and EDUCATION high on the list too. Thankfully there are many animal loving people out there fighting for these poor animals, god bless every one of them.

  34. Hi the pet shops here at horrible i am a member of the local animal rescue group here and last thursday i had to have a dog pts that had been shot and left to die (it survived 3 whole days) People who buy the pets from pet shops are just supporting the vicious circle........C'mon Muscat sort it out! x

  35. hi
    we suffered the loss of our darling little pup, a pug, on board Oman airlines travelling home for annual vacation, last year. obviously, it was due to human or inhuman negligence. we were shocked, shattered, and have not yet recovered... i don't know what to say ...

    i wish there were some seats for passengers with pets, on certain flights per week, so that we could save our little angels ...

    with a heavy heart, i should say i have nothing more to share ...


  36. hi
    we suffered the loss of our darling little pup, a pug, on board Oman airlines travelling home for annual vacation, last year. obviously, it was due to human or inhuman negligence. we were shocked, shattered, and have not yet recovered... i don't know what to say ...

    i wish there were some seats for passengers with pets, on certain flights per week, so that we could save our little angels ...

    with a heavy heart, i should say i have nothing more to share ...


  37. First of all, why must it be a pedigree?? Pedigree's are often overbreeded they have special genetical illness sooner or later. I suppose you have strays in Oman as well, why not taking a stray? They are so thankful and if you don't want a grown up dog there are surely also puppies. Don't you have animal welfare organisations with good shelters where people can get their new pet??
    Concerning the puppy mills, any puppymill is bad whether it is in Asia, USA, Eastern Europe... We say here in Germany if buying a pedigree (if you really think you MUST have one) then always go to the breeder and have a look at the parents of the puppy and how they are kept, if they are living with the family or in kennels (which is no good). But mixed breed are mostly beautiful. I myself adopted a stray in India from the streets in Delhi and I am very happy that I did this. First I saved his life and could give him a good home. He is now 13 years with me and I never regret that I took him with me home...

  38. Hi, I made a facebook page titled 'Animal Cruelty in Muscat, Oman'. I have used your picture (if you don't mind). This is my contribution to the growing cases of animal cruelty. I hope you will like because I would love to spread this information far and wide. Thanks.


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