Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said in a hadith: ‘Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.’ In the Bible, Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” Every Heavenly book speaks about mercy and compassion – teaching us to be kind to one another – and to respect every soul. The holy books demand us to help at all times and whenever we can.
I am not here to preach about mercy and compassion because I believe either you were raised and taught to be merciful and compassionate by your parents and the school or God has already planted the seed of mercy in your heart. There are people who are born to be kindhearted while some simply don’t know the meaning of compassion at all.
But compassion and mercy, unfortunately, does not always extend to those who need it most. Let me give you an example. Three weeks ago, on the 8th floor of a building a puppy was left on the balcony, in the searing heat, for several days in a row. The four-month-old animal barked for hours, desperate in the mid-day heat for some water and shade.
The missing owner
As the day passed, other people in the apartment building and neighboring apartment buildings assumed that the owner would come home to at least feed and give the dog water to drink. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. The dog was still outside in the balcony as the temperature soared to above 50 degrees Celsius.
Someone called the ‘haris’ to ask about the dog’s owner. Unfortunately the owner could not be found and so the poor pup was left to suffer. Several people tried to help the animal by pouring water from an adjacent balcony.
Three days passed and still there was no sign of the owner. The poor dog’s condition was getting worse. A call was made to 211, the fire station and the police station asking for help. The authorities said they couldn’t do anything because they cannot break into a private apartment without the owner’s permission or a warrant. No one could help. In fact, even a local nonprofit animal shelter and the Public Authority of Agricultural and Fish Resources Affairs were unable to do anything.
After three long days and nights of the animal being left in an unshaded balcony, the owner finally returned home and allowed the dog back inside the flat. Though neighbors offered to take the dog, to care and provide for it, the owner refused.
Unfortunately, mistreating animals is a common thing in Kuwait; it is either by pet owners who abandon them and embark on summer vacation or by children who weren’t raised to respect animals. Sometimes, animals are brutally abused by people who simply don’t have any sense of responsibility.
And according to a recent article by Fajer Ahmad, ‘Kuwait constitution does not mention animal rights. The Kuwaiti penal (criminal law) does not specify that the abuse of animals is a crime. However, the only law that discusses the killing of an animal is Article 253 of the Criminal Law which states that – ‘A person who kills an animal owned by another by giving it a poisonous or harmful substance; injures it; makes it useless or decreases its benefits deliberately and unjustifiable shall be punished up to two years of imprisonment and/or shall pay up to 2000 rupees.’
There have been repeated attacks recently against animals in Kuwait including the random shooting of dogs, the slaughter of an ancient sea turtle and numerous other incidents. I know that the first thing that will cross our mind is – how do I expect people to have mercy upon animals when people don’t even have mercy on each other? No matter how bad things appeared to be, we should always try to be merciful to others – and to animals. It is our duty and our responsibility.
By Sahar Moussa