DUBAI: A new law approved by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in December bans dealing in and ownership of all types of wild and domesticated but dangerous animals, Gulf News reported.

According to the Law on Regulation of Ownership of Dangerous Animals, published in the official gazette and which took effect immediately, only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centers are entitled to keep wild or exotic animals. The public is urged to report cases of wild animals being kept as pets.

Anyone who takes a leopard, cheetah or any other kind of exotic animal out in public will face a jail term of up to six month and a fine ranging between Dh10, 000 and Dh500, 000.

Possession of dangerous animals for trading purposes will be penalized with a jail term, or a fine ranging between Dh50, 000 and Dh500, 000 or both.

People who use an animal to attack a person will face a jail term of between three and seven years if the attack causes a physical disability. If the person is killed, the penalty will be life imprisonment.

If other minor injuries are inflicted, a prison term of not more than a year and a fine of up to Dh400, 000 will be given, according to the law.

Under the new law, those who use animals to terrorize people will face a jail term and/or a range of fines from Dh100, 000 to Dh700, 000.

The new law states that most wild animals cannot be reared as pets since they are vulnerable to unpredictable behavioral changes that could go out of control.

According to law, dog owners must obtain a license for their pets and keep them on a leash at all times when in public. Those who fail to buy a license for their dogs from local authorities and keep them under control will face a fine of at least Dh10, 000, but not more than Dh100, 000.