DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai police Tuesday warned inhabitants of a residential neighborhood in the skyscraper-studded city that a “wild cat” was loose in the area.
Police didn’t name the animal at large but the government’s Dubai Media Office said officers were combing the city’s The Springs neighborhood for the cat.
Police urged the public to call them if they spotted the animal.
“Dubai Police said bringing out any kind of wild animal into a public environment is strictly prohibited under the emirate’s laws and violators can face a jail term of up to six months in addition to severe financial penalties,” the Dubai Media Office said in a tweet.
The thrill of keeping lions, cheetahs and tigers as pets is popular in some quarters of the Gulf Arab states, where it’s seen as a status of wealth and power.
Though it is illegal to keep as pets endangered or threatened wildlife in the United Arab Emirates, there have been numerous sightings of Emirati men in luxury cars accompanied by pet lions along for the cruise.
A lion escaped from a house in Dubai’s Al Barsha neighborhood in 2016 before police seized it.
In Kuwait, a man was sued in 2014 after his pet lion escaped and attacked a Filipina maid.