Dog Khaleesi dies after horrific abuse in Aruba, sparking outrage

Dog Khaleesi dies after horrific abuse in Aruba, sparking outrage
Dog Khaleesi, credit: Luna Foundation Aruba and Crijojo Trappers Aruba

Khaleesi, a dog in Aruba who was rescued after being tied by the neck so severely by her owner that her skin was stripped away, died on Sunday, animal welfare organization Crijojo Trappers Aruba said. 

So far, her owner has not been arrested, which has sparked outrage among citizens and tourists alike. Ursell Arends, the Minister of Transport, Integrity, Nature, and Elderly Affairs, promised a new animal welfare law to ensure such crimes become punishable. He did not provide further details regarding what would happen to Khalisee’s owner.

Dog Khaleesi

On Friday, Crijojo Trappers Aruba and the Luna Foundation Aruba shared a distressing video of Khaleesi’s rescue. The footage showed the small female dog with chains so tightly wrapped around her neck that her skin was missing, her face swollen, and her bones visible. Injured and dehydrated puppies surrounded her.

Jacqueline from Crijojo Trappers Aruba was seen attempting to remove the chain and managing her emotions during the situation. “It’s heartbreaking to hear Jacqueline cry that way. This is wrong on so many levels,” stated the Luna Foundation.

Khaleesi and her puppies were immediately taken to a veterinarian. While her puppies survived, Khaleesi died after several days of medical care.

The dog’s owner displayed no remorse. “This owner of the dog does not take any blame. Everyone is guilty but him,” reported Crijojo Trappers Aruba.

Trigger Warning: This content contains descriptions of animal abuse that may be distressing to some readers. Viewer discretion is advised

Animal Wellbeing Law Aruba

Khaleesi’s suffering underscores the urgent need for legislative change in Aruba. Current laws are inadequate in protecting animals and do not sufficiently protect them from potential abusers. 

“These acts of cruelty and animal abuse are not acceptable, yet they occur every day in our community,” Minister Arends said. He emphasized that animal abuse in Aruba goes beyond the issue of stray dogs and includes the mistreatment and cruelty many pets endure in domestic settings, often with no escape.

“It is extremely regrettable to see that even in the year 2024, there are people in our community who think that this type of animal abuse is acceptable,” he added.

He announced that the government is developing a new Animal Wellbeing Law aimed at safeguarding animals. He stated that this law would address various animal abuse and neglect issues but did not provide specific details.

However, local newspaper AM News Online noted that Aruba has a Dog Law, which was reintroduced in the summer of 2023 but quickly forgotten and not always known by police officers.

Justice for Khaleesi

Arends emphasized the importance of reporting abuse to the police. “It starts with you as a citizen to be more alert and show more empathy to save our animals, who are also part of our society,” he said.  

However, the public has expressed concerns that the police often do not take such reports seriously. In Khaleesi’s case, the volunteers’ reports were disregarded, and her owner was not arrested.

Citizens also fear the new law might allow Khaleesi’s owner to evade punishment. “I would like to know what will be done in this particular case. It can not go unpunished because new laws are in the making,” said citizen Zori Kelly in response to the minister.

A movement to strengthen Aruba’s animal protection laws is gaining traction, with a petition circulating to gather public support. 

Although Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which also includes the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, animal welfare laws vary among these countries. 

In the Netherlands, for example, the maximum penalty for animal abuse or neglect is three years. Offenders can also receive a fine and a ban on owning animals.

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