Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Barbaric. Animals Left to Starve to Death

It’s hard to believe that this could be happening. This article is from Kuwait’s Al Watan and I learned about it from Mark, at Unbelievable. Unthinkable.

KUWAIT: It only happens in Kuwait. No other country would demand money from people already paying rent.

Initially, those renting stalls at the animal market in AlـRai thought it was a mistake, but when their shops were shut down “because of rent arrears,” business owners went berserk. In addition, the animals displayed in the stalls were left inside the locked stalls, with the proprietors unable to tend to or remove then, thereby what was a municipal disagreement has ballooned into an animal rights fiasco.

It remains unfathomable to many where the decision to charge a second “Municipality rent” arose from, when the proprietors were already paying rent to the owners of the commercial space, the Ministry of Finance. With the Municipality shutting down the stalls, and the Ministry of Finance staying silent ـ only to say: “this is not our issue” ـ the business owners are helpless as the animals howl and cry for food, with every passing day the stench of death growing ever stronger.

Al Watan Daily went to the animal market in Al Rai area and witnessed the disaster first hand.
Shopkeepers told Al Watan Daily that the Municipality had closed all the stalls over two weeks ago, “and they haven”t opened the doors even once till now. All the animals are inside the stalls, and most of them have died due to lack of water, food and air. These animals have been in cages within the stalls for 15 days and they have not seen any light, nor eaten anything.”

Ridha Ashkanani told Al Watan Daily: “We signed contracts with the State Properties Department; we pay them 300 Kuwaiti dinars per year, and we also have been paying KD 60 per year to the Municipality as for the cleaning of the area. We were forced to pay this sum although the Municipality is not taking care of the area and the place is not clean at all. The problem now is that the Municipality is asking us to pay another rent for the stalls themselves. They want KD 3 per every square meter within the shop per month. They also want the money to be paid in arrears from 1995. We can”t afford to pay all this, and there isn”t any law that requires us to pay a second rent to the Municipality.”

The situation is this: according to the traders, they have been paying a normal rental fee since 1997, which continued when the Ministry of Finance relocated their businesses to the current location, but in 2004, a Municipal inspector came and asked them to pay a “Municipality rent.”

The proprietors explained to the inspector that they were not aware of any second “Municipality rent,” and that according to the contract with the Ministry of Finance, the rent was to be paid to the ministry, and the ministry only.

After receipts were shown to the inspector that payments were being made to the ministry, he quietly withdrew and disappeared.

However, in 2006, another inspector came demanding “Municipality rent.” The traders explained, once again, to the new inspector the same story, to which he accepted their argument but demanded a KD five monthly surcharge for cleaning.

The traders saw no qualms with the demand and agreed to the nominal fee, but then some months later, the inspector returned, requiring that the cleaning fees be paid in lump sum six months in advance. After some grumbling, they acquiesced.

Oddly, some weeks later, traders were informed that instead of 6 months, it would have to be 12 months in advance. Again, they reluctantly agreed.

Now you have the current situation, where the Municipality has shut all the stalls with the animals locked inside, and is demanding the “Municipality rent,” in arrears as far back as 1995.

“Our major issue is that the animals are trapped inside the stalls, and most of them died. We are losing our business and losing the animals we have in the shops, and we are not allowed to open the shops at least to feed the animals, which have not eaten any food for 15 days,” explained Ashkanani
Ahmed, another proprietor, said: “I lost all the gold fish I had in the shop, worth KD 5,000. We want the animal rights societies to help us in our problem. We went to the State Properties Department and they didn”t help us, and stated that it”s not their responsibility. We then went to the Cabinet and they told us to go to the minister, and he also refused to help us. We finally went to the Municipality, (which refused to open the doors until they are paid), and now we are filing a case at the court and we are waiting to see what will happen.”

Last updated on Monday 2/11/2009

November 2, 2009 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Civility, Community, Entrepreneur, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, News, NonFiction, Pets, Shopping, Social Issues


  1. sigh….arabs.

    which is what i almost always say when issues like these are brought about on ur blog.

    i missf. havent forgotten about u!!

    my sister may need to fly to qatar in a few weeks. i might join her 😀

    Comment by Mrm | November 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. I agree that Kuwait is horrible on animal rights, but if you watch Pet Rescue on the Animal Planet, you’ll see that it isn’t limited to Kuwait. There are cruelty cases everywhere – and quite a few in the US.

    I work right in front of this place. I’m going to drive by this afternoon. I’m sure someone will have broken in by now. We do have some brave animal crusaders here.

    Comment by Desert Girl | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  3. Absolutely barbaric.
    I would have broken into my own stall the next night!
    What a horrible story! It makes me sick to think of. I wish I hadn’t read this.

    I can’t believe you desert girl, Maybe there is some animal cruelty in other places on the planet but something like this would not be remotely possible!!!! Why do you think it’s nessecary to point out that animal cruelty exists in other places? Do you really think that doing so makes this any less horrfic and barbaric? Do you think doing so will place this barbaric act in a better light? It doesn’t.
    Do you imagine that in America a municipality would be allowed to do this? Your feeble attempt to distract only shows the stark difference in which animal cruelty is treated!

    Why do you think these ”humane society” docu’s are so popular? Because people want cruelty to animals to stop and making it public is a good way. And everybody who watches them wants to see a happy ending. Have you noticed that for every cruelty case there are about fifteen people working for, spending money and their feelings towards helping these lost animals? Where do you think all the money comes from to pay for all those animal shelters, veterinarians, medicines, food, the officers and the big cars, and the headquarters and lawsuits? Because people in Aemrica care. They do more than care, they give a lot of money to these charities.
    What you see on animal planet are rare cases. Cruel people are denouced by caring citizens, or the cases are scouted out by detectives (payed for by the caring public).

    So what is the Kuwaiti Humane Society doing about this? Oh but it’s too late now isn’t it? The animals have all died a horrific death by now.
    Is there something like a Kuwaiti Humane Society?
    I don’t think so, because if there was, and if it had the publics and the justice departments overwhelming support, (Like it has in America) then these animals would have been released within the hour!!!!!
    And who ever was responsible for this outrage would have been fired on the spot!

    So before you start pointing fingers at the blemishes elsewhere, you should first become a lot less blemished yourself. Intlxpatr is writing about the gulf states she lives in, and Animal planet talks about America. If you want to talk about America write to Animalplanet. Write to the American Humane Societies if you are that concerned, and as writing only does nobody any good you might send them a substantial amount of money. Like the Americans do
    And if you are really that taken by animal cruelty, I mean besides writing on the internet, you might want to set up the ”Kuwaiti Humane Society”.
    And if you really, really care, you would have be down there two weeks ago with some tools and have broken open those shops! Not ”someone”, you!
    You work in front of these places and you didn’t even know!?!? You actually admit that and still think it’s correct to point fingers to another continent?

    Until you are willing to do something constructive yourself and clean up your own country, I think you have no right pointing fingers to other places.

    Comment by Aafke | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  4. Good God.

    Did you revist 248am?

    You’d make a horrible journalist.

    AAfkle, I will reply to your comment upon my return and I will murder your pathetic argument when I do.

    Comment by d | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. So looking forward to that.

    Can you imagine the Americans doing this on Animal Planet?

    First HS officer: ”There’s a starving dog locked up in that abandoned house there, we should get permission from the judge to break open the door and rescue it!”

    Second HS Officer: ”Oh, but look at what they are doing in Kuwait! They are letting scores of animals die in locked shops. We’ll just pass by next week and somebody will have broken open the house and rescued it”

    First HS Officer:” You’re right, bad things happen everywhere. Let’s have some coffee”

    Comment by Aafke | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the link, That was relief.
    It’s good to read the story from somebody who has actually been there and talked to the shopowners themselves.

    Comment by Aafke | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  7. That was the wrong link,
    It’s a very nice link though.
    Anyway this is the one I meant:

    Comment by Aafke | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  8. read the update on Mark’s blog 🙂

    Comment by ansam518 | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  9. Mrm – I was just thinking about you! 😉 Good thoughts! E-mail me and I will pick you up at the airport. 🙂

    No. Not Arabs. But barbaric nonetheless. If you have ever caught an episode of that animal control program on Animal Planet, you will know we have plenty of problems in the US. Dogfights. Cockfights. Breeding places that are horrible. People who neglect horses. It’s like some people have a piece of their soul missing when it comes to empathy with animals. I have even heard people say animals don’t feel pain.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  10. Desert Girl – You are exactly right, it happens everywhere. I have a terrible feeling that we will have a terrible price to pay in the next world if we have allowed cruelty to animals.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  11. Aafke, Aafke, sweetie, Desert Girl has lived in Kuwait longer than I did! She wrote a huge long post about horses left to die in the desert, and DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT! She rescues animals all the time!

    I understand how upset you are, but DG is not the problem – WE human beings are the problem, world wide. Honestly, I have seen Americans do things that would kill you if you had seen them. People are people, everywhere we go. Allowing suffering is heartless, and as you see, the post was only partially true.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  12. Thank you, Ansam!

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 3, 2009 | Reply

  13. Ok, Kudos for desert girl working for the resque of horses!!!

    My rant was not so much about the actual report of the animals left to die, but about the weird habit I encounter in middle eastern blogs that whenever something bad is being discussed, people will start pointing out that America has it´s faults too… America does it tooo!

    What does that matter?

    If something like gross animal abuse happens in the Netherlands it gets into the paper, but nobody starts commenting, ”Well, look at what people do in America, they are bad too!”
    No, we recognise a problem and start towards straightening it out. And trying to prevent it happening in the future. What people do or don’t do in America doesn’t come into it. Why should it?

    It’s a cheap and childish way of trying to avoid getting the blame. What good does it do to point fingers somewhere else?
    That was the point of my rant.
    I admit it was a very big rant….
    I overdid it a bit perhaps….

    Comment by Aafke | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  14. Aafke, I totally get your point, and at the same time, I can understand what is happening.

    It’s a time of transition. You can’t welcome in cable television, international broadcasts and the internet, VOIP’s, and travel to all over the world without your own world changing. There is an awareness that local customs and traditions are falling by the wayside, and that all – not just the young – are adapting new ways. The most clear exporter of a way of life is currently America (BTW, there is also a lot of resentment against the English) and thus, the focus on America as villain.

    Our government, for many years, also had some pretty arrogant policies, and an attitude that indicated we thought we were right and righter than anyone else; those kinds of attitudes always breed resentment and raise barriers.

    IMHO, it’s like kicking the nearest dog. America is a convenient scapegoat. And no one likes seeing their country criticized. But there does seem to be a problem in Kuwait when they are charging rents, and want a new, additonal, rent paid. And there does seem to be a lack of value to animal suffering.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  15. thank you, I understand this habit a bit better now.

    We also have a lot of critisism on America, and on our spineless politicians catering to American demands.
    And of course as the Dutch, we don’t have these issues with being criticised so much; we are always the first to criticise the Netherlands ourselves.

    Comment by Aafke | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  16. Why middle eastern people blame America for the trouble??
    because in America there are too many Dutch people who emigrated there and cause all the trouble.

    To start with what is the name of New York before ?? it was called New Amsterdam , it means Dutch . They took the land of Manhattan from the red Indians for just a few beads and started the city.You ask them Why did you do that ?they reply YOU AINT MUCH IF YOU AINT DUTCH .
    Why they are too tall??? nobody knows and they dont have a good basketball team either . So whats the use !!!!

    Until now still Dutch people go to America to cause trouble check the latest attempt ; here is the link

    Comment by daggero | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  17. Oh damn, we’ve been discovered! 😳
    It’s all our fault!!!!

    ”Why they are too tall??? nobody knows and they dont have a good basketball team either . So whats the use !!!!”

    I don’t think the woman in that link had been causing any trouble? 🙄

    Comment by Aafke | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  18. Aafke, where did you get those faces that even roll their eyes? How do you do that???

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  19. There is a wordpress page which tells you which codes to use for smileys, or emoticons.
    😳 = : oops : (without spaces)
    🙄 = : roll :
    😈 = : twisted :

    Comment by Aafke | November 5, 2009 | Reply

  20. Cooooooolllll!!! Thank you! 😆

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 6, 2009 | Reply

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