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Sun 24 Jan 2016 11:10 AM

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Dubai Police arrest owner of escaped lioness

Person suspected of selling the animal has also been detained

Dubai Police arrest owner of escaped lioness
Image for illustrative purpose only. (Getty Images)

The owner of a lioness found prowling around a residential neighbourhood in Dubai has been arrested along with the person suspected of selling it to him, according to local media.

Dubai Police said the owner faces charges for endangering the lives of others and breaching legislation regarding the ownership of exotic animals, 7Days reported.

In the UAE it is illegal to keep wild animals as pets without first obtaining a special permit.

But, according to the report, the owner did not have any such permit.

“We have identified the owner and searched his home,” Yousef Al Adedi, director of Al Barsha Police Station, was quoted as saying. “He has not provided us with any authorisation certificate so we charged him with endangering other people’s lives and breaching legislation.”

The owner was arrested after local residents reported a lioness roaming the streets of Al Barsha last week. The lioness was caught by police and sedated before being taken to Dubai Zoo.

The owner, a GCC national, reportedly bought the lioness three months ago. Police are still questioning the man suspected of selling her, also from the GCC, to find out how she was brought to the UAE.

Al Adedi said: “[The owner] had only had [the lioness] for about three months so we managed to arrest the man who sold it to him and he is currently being questioned.

“He will face the same charges as the owner.”

The man has been released on bail and the case was to be referred to the Public Prosecution on Sunday.

7Days reported that the lioness is in a state of “deep shock” at Dubai Zoo and has not eaten for 24 hours.

An animal care expert at the zoo was quoted as saying: “She has gone through a lot, from escaping from her owner to being caught by the municipality workers and now being kept in an unfamiliar place.

“All of this has left her in a state of shock, she is in trauma. We are trying to make her happy.”

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