Dog shooting video angers social media users, animal activists

stray dog in Jordan
A stray dog in Jordan. (Photo: Zoe Sottile/Jordan News)
AMMAN — A video circulating on social media purporting a person who has been identified as a municipal official shooting a stray dog in Zarqa and leaving it to bleed to death has stirred anger on social media. اضافة اعلان

The video opens with an earlier clip of a toddler seen approaching the dog, who then harmlessly backs away. The second part shows the official gaining the dog’s trust before proceeding to shoot it in front of a young child.

Social media users were enraged because they deemed that the dog was posing no threat, arguing that that makes shooting the animal unjustifiable. Some worried that having the child witness the incident was perpetuating the mistreatment of stray animals in Jordan.

Head of Zarqa Municipality’s local committee, Firas Faour, told local media outlets that the municipality has been able to identify and terminate the services of the local official responsible for the shooting, in addition to seizing the weapon used and launching an investigation into the incident.

Some Facebook users objected to the decision, saying that the official should not be held responsible for what they presumed were orders issued from above. “Why should the government employee pay the price? He did not carry this out of his own accord but must have had instructions from his superiors… Others should be held accountable,” wrote one user.

Zarqa Municipality’s media spokesperson Yanal Maani told Jordan News that the decision to shoot the dog was “poor behavior” on the part of the perpetrator, but that the weapon used belonged to the municipality's stray dog department.

“In addition to launching an official investigation, Dr Firas Faour has also temporarily halted operations of the stray dog department in order to coordinate with animal welfare organizations and find appropriate solutions for such incidents moving forward,” he said.

Alaa Jarrar, who runs the animal shelter Al-Rahmeh, told Jordan News that the dog in the video was popular among children in the neighborhood and always exhibited friendly and playful behavior, to the extent that they gave him a name: Arnoon.

The case of Arnoon is by no means an anomaly, but has garnered public attention because it happened to be captured on video, she said, explaining that this is a practice that continues to be rampant in other parts of the country.

Alaa believes that animal abuse in Jordan is culturally rooted. “If the municipality doesn’t kill dogs, then civilians do,” she said. She explained that animal abuse is punishable by a fine of JD5-JD10, but that this is a mechanism that is rarely enforced.

“Some people in Jordan say that they kill dogs because they harm their children… but they don’t think about how their children harm dogs,” she added.

Alaa told Jordan News that the lack of an umbrella organization uniting Jordanian animal shelters makes it difficult to effect change or push for legislation to be drafted, as each shelter operates individually.

Tabanni, another Jordan-based animal shelter, reposted the video with their own caption, explaining that Jordan is a signatory to several international agreements that deems killing animals illegal and also receives international donations for the purposes of neutering and spaying stray animals.

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