Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Creatures Pet Shop In SABCO Centre

The ever informed Undercover Dragon is running a story about the above-named pet shop at his blog here.

A while ago, I explored the possibility of buying a beagle puppy from Creatures Pet Shop in SABCO and when I got there, I was fed what can only be described as total and utter bullshit from a guy called George who works there and also another local man who claimed that all his animals had verifiable histories that were in line with all the Omani laws.

Only now am I more fully informed of the reality of what is really going on down there and also, I suspect, in other pet shops in Muscat.

Having returned a week later to have another look, I was told that the beagle had died due to a "birth defect" and that they could get me another in a week or two. Meanwhile, I asked about the young puppy who was clearly in a state of distress in a plastic transporter cage which had a blanket thrown over it.

Closer inspection revealed that the pup was sitting in a pool of its own liquid feces and could hardly stand up.
I was told by George that the dog had suspected Parvovirus but they were going to give him a few more days to recover.
When I went back the next day he was gone.

Now....I have some questions.
The staff there told me that the person in charge of the veterinary upkeep of these animals is Elka from the clinic in Qurum Heights.
I have also heard her name mentioned at the other pet shop next to Markaz Al Bahja.

Over the past years, I have accompanied friends to this woman's vet clinic and have been very impressed by her attitude and skill - but if she gets to read this, can she tell us what steps she has taken to try and prevent the daily suffering of all of these animals?

Surely as a veterinary professional, she and other vets have a duty of care when animals like this show up REGULARLY in a clinic.

And what is the local municipality or whoever doing to prevent this?

The general public carry more whack than most people realize when it comes to getting stuff like this actioned.
Would the pet shop in question like to have a full page spread about them in one of the local rags? Or a general information release to advise people of the problem?

Knowledge is power. The more people who know about this issue, the more chance there is of seeing it being changed.

I am so far from being a tree-hugger, however the mindless and callous treatment of any living creature just to make money is unacceptable - and they have no voice of their own.

It is for that reason that I am asking you all to get on your blogging, Twitter and email bikes and spread the word.

In response to some of your comments, I am in no way insinuating that Elke or her team are involved in any kind of under-handed dealings in relation to the above pet shop, I find her to be a vet of the utmost integrity and has only the welfare of her patients at heart.

George at Creatures and also the Filipino guy in Markaz told me that Elke provides all of the vaccinations and healthcare for these animals. I do not know if this is true or not - I am just relaying what I have been told.

What I am asking is, if the above is true, then what reports have been issued, or actions taken by vets when confronted with an animal from this pet shop?

Is it just ignored because "that's just the way it is around here"?
Is there any way that these animals can be impounded and cared for?
Does Oman have an anti-cruelty law for animals, and if not then why not?

I know the lady down in the marina is very active in animal sheltering but at the same time I am aware that space to shelter them is finite.

I think it is time for some ballsy investigative journalist to have a deeper look into the activities of Creatures Pet Shop - or maybe the owners would care to comment and show Muscat that they really are above board and this has all been a terrible misunderstanding.



Oman Collective Intelligence said...

I'm very surprised about what you mentioned about Elke and her team; their love, commitment and devotion to those little creatures is second to none. I can guarantee that from my own experience as well as other people I know. Elke and her team, each single one of them whether doctors, assistants and helpers have all my respect and admiration as they are just a small group of people who really love animals and spend most of their time, and money, while others shoot wadi dogs or enjoy painting cats.

Suburban said...

I will never understand why people insist on gourmet, purebred dogs, when there are hundreds of mixed breed wadi puppies who really need homes. My Parents have one, and he's the sweetest thing in the world.

OCI: My cats LOVE being painted, washed, and colored on. It's non-toxic, and rinses right off. It's hardly cruelty.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Intelligence, I don't believe for a second that Elke would be in any way complicit in such terrible treatment. The people at Qurm Clinic are constantly fighting for the rights of animals as well as their health. These people importing sick and underage animals are breaking laws and should be punished, but responsibility also lies with those who generate the demand for such pets by buying pretty pure-breds when they could be actually doing some good and expressing their TRUE love of animals by adopting those in need of a home. Why people perpetuate this cruel and exploitative industry is beyond me.

Jet Driver said...

Anon et al

I agree 100% that Elke would in no way be involved.

What I am asking is, as someone on the front line, what action has she taken or what reports has she done in relation to what she sees when these animals arrive at her door.


Dr Elke Heitz MRCVS said...

With regards to the blog comment regarding the PetShop animals on this blog i would like to state that we as Al Qurum Veterinary Clinic in no way are contracted, contacted or involved with the treatments at either pet shops. We have no direct agreement with any of the pet shops to look after their pets or to do any treatments unless they are brought to us for individual treatments which we of course would do as necessary.
Unfortunately we have not seen pets taken to us by the Sabco Center Petshop for quite a long time (more than 2 years), and as far as I am informed is that they have Dr Svetlana as their veterinarian treating the animals there.

From the other petshops we occassionally have seen pets taken to us, but again this has been some time ago now. These pets are always treated as necessary but sadly often they come to us in very poor condition already.

I am aware of the problem of imported pets and the challenges this faces, but am not able to treat such pets unless the pet shops appoint us to do so.
Unfortunately I am neither in the position to comment on the treatments these pets receive as we are , as mentioned above , not involved in any way with their treatments.

The Ministry to contact for any concerns would be the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Wealth.

If any of the petshops would like to contact me to arrange additional veterinary support please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for bringing up this concern, with best regards, Dr Elke Heitz MRCVS

Jet Driver said...


Thank you so much for clarifying this issue for us - the benefit of which is two-fold.
1. We now know that there are a lot of lies being told about the care these animals are being given...

and 2. That some of those lies are being told in relation to you and your clinic.

I will edit my blog to show reflect your comments and once again thank you very much for your response.


Elke Heitz said...

Thanks JD for bringing this up ... it is actually quite a theme as it will bring up a few opinions and a few problems which have to be addressed.....

Lets hope it sparks some public interest!

Best regards, ELke

Anonymous said...

Hi - I am the person who contacted UD with the info for this story. Could I ask anybody with a similar experience to email me (In Confidence) on muscat-petshop-petition@hotmail.com. I would like to collect people's stories before raising this matter with the highest authoriites. Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Vet at that clinic has been the only one who has told us the brutal truth about our little puppy beagle...who died this morning...we are heart broken and shocked because the puppy looked fine one day and then was sent b y sabco to the vets the next day. when we went to see her she was alright and playing and then a day later dying in vomit and shite due to pavro virus!!! my god did she deteriorate fast! we even tried to spend time with her and she was a fighter but her little body could not go on and this morning our little baby died. all pet shops here seem to be doing some dodgy importing! it has to stop!!!! it is different when you import from Europe or America ...most places have strict guidelines and rules and the best advice...import a dog from a well known breeder that does "home breading" most of these home breeders really care for the dogs and their puppies and they are well cared for and loved! this is the way to do it.

darcee said...

Sorry Anonymous, you couldn't be more wrong. In a country like Oman, paying for a specially bred dog should be a criminal offence.

Every time someone buys a pure bred or specially bred dog, they are condemning another stray to a life of misery and early death.

Put the money to better use, donate to one of the wonderful vets here who are drowning in good natured, pretty strays and make a difference in the world.

Your pet is not a status symbol. It is a living creature. Let's start a foundation called "WADI DOGS ARE THE NEW BLACK"

Grow up and stop importing dogs when there are thousands here without homes already. This goes equally for cats - it's not rocket science, just humane common sense!


Anonymous said...

wadi dogs were always the new black for me. Resilient, smart and loyal.

Anonymous said...

just so you know i have had 5 "wadi" dogs in my life...i always do my best to rescue dogs and if i can not have them i always find them a home (cats or dogs)...i love animals and will always do what i can...i agree that people should do their best and take in wadi dogs and wild cats...i also have 2 "wild" cats that are amazing pets and remain indoor and outdoor...
as for the experince i have just had with the puppy from sabco...i am not ashamed that i had her, i loved her very much and i see this as a sign that i will fight for her cause...if this had not happened to me i would not have made such a fuss about the way pet shops are in Oman...
you and many others may not agree wiht buying animals from pet shops one one side yes i guess "supply and demand" is how it works at the same time it break my heart and many others and we just want to take them out of there and save them...they too need saving dear! they are also victims and should be helped to get out of there...whats going to happen to them in there they will die and all the pet shop will do is replace...wheather you buy it or it dies.
also to be honest i know some people have had wadi dogs and have had some behaviour problems with them too so it all depends on the persons situation what type of dog is suitable for them.
i will always help animals, i care about them.

Anonymous said...

Well done JD. It's clearly an issue very close to peoples' hearts - including my own.

We need to find out who the suppliers are and who acts as broker in Oman. Name and shame these people. I suspect that the pet shops are way down the pecking order in this horrible trade.

We also need to find out the lenght of the respective animals journey and get an immediate picture of the conditions the animal is in when it arrives at one of the ports. Perhaps Y Magazine could get some pictures and, from there, expose the freight company.

Jet Driver said...

Anon et al

Yes, this is a good idea.
Finding out who is responsible for the importing of these animals - without which these pet shops would not exist.

This is not just exclusive to dogs by the way - this goes all the way down to keeping Japanese fighting fish in individual plastic cups for God's sake.

And tattooing flags onto fish - I shit you not!

Y Magazine, The Week, Muscat Daily - are you all still leading edge publications or have you all been told you wind your neck in and stop rocking the boat?

We need you. We need your resources and your investigative journalism skills.


Anonymous said...

I am regular reader of your comments about Creatures. They are very old pet shop in Oman which supplied almost 70% pedigree animals. It’s very easy to blame anybody in anytime. I am very old customer of this management and I've never had any bad experience from Creatures. You are telling a story about purchase beagle puppy from them and you are telling that they are cheating. Why? When puppy became sick and died the management did not give your money back? You should write this issue very honest. I had experience with them which they handle in decent way. One time I bought American cocker spaniel and month after he got some infections in eyes, even it was not their fault I went the shop and see the owner they done all the treatment free and he paid me 400 rials for the surgery. 2nd time I leave my African grey parrot in the shop for 10 days and went my home country due to some serious matter I able to come back only after 1year and 3months . Even I cannot believe my parrot I saw in the shop in a very healthy and good condition. And I got my parrot back. I think if creatures doing business the way you explain how they can survive….. I think this is my responsibility to explain my experience with creatures and it’s not very easy to keep such a pet shop so clean and tidy. One more thing I want to tell you such a polluted world sickness and death no body can control even I don’t know what will happened me tomorrow.

Jet Driver said...


A dubious comment to say the least!

It's hilarious the way Oman has not evolved as fast as the rest of the world's internet users where the old tactic of "wonderful contrary evidence" is submitted to a negative or critical post.

Grow up!


Anonymous said...

my family too was a frequent buyer from the creatuers shop in qurum and my parents used to bevery good friends with the "old team" there, but i too had no idea about the horrible conditions the animals were in over there until a classmate of mine informed me and i started to do some research, its not just the big animals that are being mistreated, its also the small animals like their frogs, terrapins and iguanas to name a few, 50 of each crowded in a tiny cage not suited for 2 of them! its absolutely disgusting! the sad thing is that their is nothing we can do about it until a better petshop comes and takes their business away :(

you need to open your eyes if you honestly think the people at creatures are kind, bunch of money grabbing idiots if you ask me

Anonymous said...

Pet shops lie & falsify paperwork to import puppies & kittens (mostly from Asia), there are restrictions on the age of importing, so they say the pups are 4mths old, when infact they are 6- 8wks, therefore the rabbies jabs etc (for which they show certificates) are useless... creatures have a terrible reputation ALWAYS HAVE HAD. IT'S ALL ABOUT MAKING MONEY AND NOT THE ANIMALS WELFARE. Qurum vets do an amazing job and work very hard raising funds and trying to save these poor mites. Unless the petshop or new owners take them for treatment, their hands are tied. As for the authorities, forget it, I reported the selling of lion cubs and monkeys and nothing happened. People sneak illegal imported animals in from Dubai to sell in Muscat, perhaps when there is a case of rabies, something "may" be done. Local on- line classified ads have also ignored my pleas to stop placing ads. All the time pedigree dogs are being sold, prevents the local dogs (who make amazing pets) from being homed. Thank god for the animal loving people who work endlessly in rehoming and neutering the street dogs & cats. The fight goes on to register animal rescue.

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