QAWS closed down, but why did Qatar let that happen?

Let me start by saying that the reason why I’m writing about this is because of the poor animals in Qatar. I really don’t care which organization takes care of them as long as the animals are taken care of and the people who run it have good intentions. Now, being kind to an animal doesn’t need any justification; after all, my baby sister once said “It’s nice to be nice”. However for those that do need a reason, I’ve looked at this from different points of view.
In Islam:

I’m going to start this by referring to animal welfare in Islam. All animals deserve to live, “And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures” (Quran 55:10).

Animal cruelty in general is forbidden in Islam. Abdullah ibn Umar passed on that the Messenger of God, PBUH, said, “A woman was once punished after death because of a cat which she had kept confined until it died, and because of this she entered the Fire. She had neither given it food or drink while confining it, nor had she let it free to eat the creatures of the earth.”



Animals cannot speak. Let me give you an image; I’m a dog person myself (I like cats too even though I’m allergic to most). There are some dogs out there that are beaten until their bones break, are starved until their organs shut down, and thrown out in the garbage and left for dead. You know what the heart breaking thing is? Those same dogs would probably still wag their tails to the same evil hearted person who hurt them if he/she showed some compassion.

A dog will give you endless love, will sleep right next to your bed when you’re sick, will come right next to your face when you’re crying to give you comfort, and will always be the happiest when you’ve come home. Now I’m not limiting this to dogs, because all animals are God’s creatures, but I like to talk from experience, and I own a dog. In fact, she’s sitting on my lap right now as I type this.

You know an expression I hate? “Treated like an animal”, because I don’t think even ANIMALS, should be ‘treated like an animal’. Pet’s should be treated with love. We’re humans, so where’s the humanity?


Duty of a country:

I think that it’s the duty of the nation to make sure that there are basic services to take care of the animals.
Let’s look around the world. The UK has the RSCPA, a charitable organization supported by the government to end animal cruelty, stopping over population, and home animals. Bahrain has the BSPCA, guess what they do? Yep, the same thing. UAE has the Dubai Animal Rescue Center, and RAK Animal Welfare Center, and Kuwait has K’s Path. Why is it that in Qatar there isn’t any government entity that can help?

When QAWS was created, they didn’t ask for government funding (although that would definitely help) and they were volunteers that relied on the public to either volunteer themselves or give donations to keep them going. The only thing I know that that this organization asked for, was land to work off of. In fact, they didn’t care how far it was… they just needed stability.


So what happened to QAWS?

After 10 years (yes they started in 2003), they’ve had to shut down. The story goes that the QAWS has been in talks and discussions with various organizations and authorities including CMC, Ministry of Urban Planning, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Municipalities. The CMC have agreed that the organization is important to the country, recommended that Urban Planning support with land, and that the Ministry of Environment back them up. Sadly, even then, I guess that recommendation fell on deaf ears. QAWS even went as far as making sure all the requirements were met for a charitable organization to exist; like the need to a certain % of the board to be Qatari (I’m one member by the way).


So what needs to be done?

Got wasta? Because all that can be done at the moment is for someone who’s high up to order (whoever needs to be ordered, I dont really know) to make this a priority and just get things done. Wish I had more to say on this but those are the facts.

What I don’t understand is that Qatar has a lot of money, right? Why not create an official organization that is under one of the government entities to exist legally? Oh well… let’s just appreciate the fact that there have been groups like QAWS, Dogs in Doha, and Cats in Qatar, that have been trying to make a difference here.

I just wish I was one of the many super millionaires out there so that I could do something.

Note: I am not suggesting that the animals that QAWS has will now be released into the street as they have said that they will be focused on rehoming and the volunteers will keep the animals in their homes.

What I am wishing for is a legal entity, monitored or run by the government, to exist.

If anybody has anything they would like me to add to my blog post please do drop my a message 🙂

Update: wow that was fast! A twitter follower shares an image of a plot allocated for QAWS by Urban Planning! I’ll write a follow up blog post as soon as learn more.


  • Amy

    The RSPCA isn’t supported by the UK government – it’s an independent charity funded entirely by donations.

  • Um Yusef

    It’s so sad- unfortunately for many people here an animal is something cute they buy in Souq Wagif one day then throw on the street the next when they realise it makes a mess, noise or needs ongoing care for the rest of its life.
    The mentality of the majority needs to change- until then animal welfare will be low on the list of priorities. What will happen now to all the lost and stray animals? A country’s development is also reflected in its animal welfare programmes, not just in fancy hospitals, beautiful infrastructure and overall wealth.

  • Is that the only thing you noticed about the article 🙁
    The RSPCA definitely is supported. Support isn’t only financial, it’s also by providing approvals, support by MPs, the right to exist, and even accepting recommendations in law and policy.

  • Elizabeth Wardle Walker

    Nice article Khalifa. It’s such a shame that QAWS has had to close and that no-one with the means has stepped in to help.

  • Tinkerbell

    Its a touching piece Khalifa. And I just hope someone out there who has the ability to actually DO something about it – will do it and help QAWS. The numerous abandoned animals NEED them.

  • dogs in doha

    We agree with this as what is going to happen to the strays now…… as the only shelter now will be 2nd Chance Rescue -Qatar and they are overloaded with 120 dogs as well…
    We (Dogs in Doha) dont have a shelter and work with foster-homes….and closely with 2nd Chance Rescue – Qatar , who are kind enough to help us board some of our Rescues with them if our foster-homes are full…..
    It’s hard to manage the Strays and Abandoned dogs and cats already for QAWS,2nd Chance Rescue and Dogs in Doha already, so how are we going to cope with all this when QAWS closes their doors???

  • Irene M Skeisvoll

    I had a conversation with someone who is working and who is the head of a department of government. He said that it was approved plan and money to a shelter in northern Qatar on government property this year. Could it be an answer to your fustrasjon that they do not support private shelters. Government wants control of the animals that are thrown out on the street. The animals that live in Qatar on the street is their responsibility not individuals. It is very sensible that they take responsibility for all animals in Qatar! They follow Islamic law!

  • someOneThatIsWorking

    my opinion:

    how much money you have to spend on an animal, lets say a dog?

    how much money you have to spend on a poor child that doesnt have cleen water in Africa?
    Humanity!!! people are dying every second for a water that is 1 riyal for 500ml!!!

    and we spend more than 100 riyals on 1 dog shampoo.

    instead of writing for animals, write for humans. there are more people that dont have a place to sleep than animals. source? ummmm india ummmm china ummmm africa. they are that much poor that they eat cats and dogs.

    article “SAVE HUMANS PLEASE!!!!”
    here is a good image for it:

    end of my opinion.
    respact opinions

  • someOneThatIsWorking

    meh, looser XD

  • I don’t follow your logic. It isn’t animals or humans. It is about being respectful and supporting all living creatures.

    Instead of telling me what to write, go on and take on your own battle.

    Again though, my site is about Qatar and Qatar is my focus. That is why I support the anti racism campaign, breast cancer awareness campaign, old people’s home, the orphanage, etc…

    There organizations IN Qatar which I Love Qatar has supported (like Qatar Charity) which donate to different causes around the world.

    If you follow ILQ closely you would have seen that.

  • Taking care of a country is the duty of everyone who lives in that country.
    Islamic law does not say that it is a governments responsibility, as you can see in my post, it is the responsibility of each person.
    A center that is created isn’t only responsible for strays in the street, they take on public education, rehoming, helping with legislation recommendations, and the list goes on.

    Now who runs the center, I really don’t care as long as they have good hearts and do the right thing.

  • Kelly Allen

    Unfortunately the new Government Shelter won’t be completed for another 3 years. Even once built, it will not be able to cope with the number of animals that need help and the private rescue groups will still be desperately needed.

  • 2clevabyarf

    What a brilliant article! Very well written. So sad that the people who can help have chosen not to help. Ultimately it shows Qatar in a very, very bad light. And the comments from someonethatisworking just show a total lack of intelligence – from his inability to spell – ‘looser’ – looser than what – something that is tighter??? to his overall inability to understand the article. Sad that such people lack education, not to mention empathy, but he clearly lives in ignorance, so I certainly won’t waste pity on him.

  • Stefan Tornau

    Nice, I hope it will help and Qatar will be known to set an example. To do something great for the animals might be not as a public and fame as other achievements but sure many hearts would be won

  • miss Vida

    Get a life rich boy

  • vijay

    very good article. we expatricates are helpless except to rescue and keep maximum animals at home and take care of them. for me i have seven cats in a flat even though i am suffering with allergy etc. i do not feel them to throw out. i pray that government will find a speedy solution to this problem.

  • vijay

    what will happen if all the cats are eradicated from Qatar. Rodents get multiplied and so the diseases like plague etc. will increase. That is worst than the street cats. Plague is a zoonotic disease, circulating mainly in fleas on small rodents and is one of three types of bacterial infections caused by Yersinia pestis

  • Rob

    This dude can’t say it well.
    Just explain dogs in Islam and i will be happy to hear. I heard that you call dogs “nejoose” not sure the word and in the place that a dog is there is no angles. If you want a source I can ask my friend and if you know what I mean pls explain 🙂
    nice articles by the way
    I <3 Qatar

  • Abdulrahman

    Why would the cats be eradicated?! Cats were brought here from Iran in the 80s to combat rats which were a big problem back then.

  • Abdulrahman

    Yes, but you see, Qatar has “a lot of money” so everyone and their dog has a right to it!

  • Abdulrahman

    If I’m not mistaken, QAWS’s problem is that the rental contract for their current location will not be renewed, and they have failed to find a location that’s: 10,000 sqm, costs 30,000 QAR monthly, and is close to Doha.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the right to exist”? QAWS have existed publicly for 10 years, so that’s not an issue for them.

  • I didn’t say QAWS doesn’t have the right to exist, my post above explains the different forms of support since the person I was replying to thought of support in the financial sense only.

    Have said that, the QAWS organization only managed to exist legally with charitable status (which took many many years)

  • Abdulrahman

    Let me start by saying that a lot more needs to be done by the government to help improve the animal welfare situation in Qatar. Laws against animal abuse and ones that regulate the breeding and selling of animals are long overdue. Laws also that regulate the establishment of private animal shelters are also needed.

    Having said that, we come to the problem QAWS is facing. You say you’re a member of their board. May I ask since when? Because, to the best I know, they didn’t have any Qatari board members. Now suddenly that they’re facing this dilemma they go and get one!

    Saying that Qatar has a lot of money isn’t a nice way of asking for help; how often have we as Qataris been taken advantage of just because someone believe that!

    Also, arguing that the animal welfare situation in Qatar is worse than places like the U.S. and U.K isn’t a good argument. In those countries, most, if not all, animal shelters are privately owned, and do not get any financial support from the government.

    Moreover, most animals that enter those shelters, end up being euthanasiaed due to lack of space as new animals keep coming in. I believe the ratio in the U.S. is about 88% for cat and 50% for dogs that are killed in the shelter. And do you know how often are people in the U.S. punished by the authorities for simply feeding stray cats?

    Yet, some of the people of QAWS would have us believe that the animal welfare situation here is more dire than it is in their home countries? And then they come and ask us for help?

  • I believe since 2 years ago. I was asked to be on the board to help get them charitable status. I believe 12 out of 20 board members must have been Qatari.

    I didn’t argue that Qatar’s situation was worse when I shared examples of shelters (including UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain too), I was trying to show well established societies. Again, I don’t talk exclusively of financial support needed.

    In regards to euthanized animals in US, I don’t have a source for statistics, but the point of the shelter is to at least give animals a chance at being adopted right?

    In regards to mentioning Qatar is a wealthy country, I’m talking about the government, not the people. However in this case I mentioned that QAWS is ‘not’ after money anyway.

  • And QAWS wouldn’t be asking for help if there was a proper entity (I wish run by fellow Qataris). Either way, my point is that I don’t care if it is QAWS or PAWS or any organization, my point is that proper entity needs to exist.

  • Who? Me?

  • Editing on iPad is hard. Wanted to add that I understand where you are coming from.

  • Catara

    So I have to ask, what can be done? How can we get the Government to help and realize how animals are truly a gift from God. In other words, how do you get people to value the lives of animals?

  • Katara

    Humans are capable of helping themselves of getting financial aid and of working and getting themselves out of trouble, an animal isn’t, an animal is in the hands of humans.
    Save humans, you have to be kidding…I don’t think much of the human race. Its because of humans animals are in this situation, its because of humans, humans are in the situation they are in,,,humans have themselves to blame.

    Why are these people having children when they are not even able to care or feed themselves? Ummmmm India, China, and Africa should take care of their own citizens..

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