The Veterinary Services Section of Dubai Municipality’s Public Health Services Department is carrying out a campaign to eliminate illegal online trade of animals through websites and social networking sites.

The municipality has already ordered a host of illegal websites to shut down or face closure for breaking the law, the municipality said on Wednesday. Mohammad Yousuf Al Hammadi, Acting Head of the Veterinary Services Section, said the warnings are only the first phase.

“The second stage will be to send the list of all violating sites to the Legal Affairs Department of the Municipality to be sent to Dubai Police Cybercrime Department for the police to close these sites permanently,” he said.

Al Hammadi stated that the municipality and the Economic Department had warned all violators and unauthorised social network users that the punishment would be harsh, but to no avail.

The municipality, he said, has recently received many complaints from the public regarding the behaviour of these violators. “Since they do not have any commercial licenses for their work, the section cannot issue fines to them and chase them legally without them obtaining commercial licenses legally,” he said.

Al Hammadi warned the public not to deal with these people even if their prices are cheaper. “Most of these people do not have landline phone numbers, so they just put their mobile numbers on these sites and use statements that all their profits go to animal welfare organisations, that they do not work for profit but only want to save the animals. But it is the opposite,” said Al Hammadi.

Al Hammadi also appealed to the public to cooperate with the Veterinary Services Section and immediately report any site that carries out veterinary activities without license from the Municipality, such as selling pets, selling animal food, transporting animals, offering day-to-day care of pets or providing centres for accommodating pets.

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