TODAY 20071026: Large dogs: Time for a rethink

This article is a culmination of the Petition to Allow all breeds of Dogs and Cats in HDB flats.

Previously, it’s been reported in the Straits Times that more dogs are being abandoned due to the stricter laws on dog-owning. There was a letter response to that report which says why it’s No way to treat a devoted family pet rather well.

Dober the community dog (Jurong)

Animal lovers in Singapore: speak up!

Help dogs like Dober, and Blackie become legal residents in HDB flats. Help their fellow refugees, cats, to become legal residents in HDB flats too! Remember a mayor’s pet lesson FOR us.

This article’s follow-up/related articles chronology

Here’s the article itself

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Large dogs: Time for a rethink

Dog owners to appeal to HDB

Friday • October 26, 2007

Sheralyn Tay

DOG lovers are calling for a rethink on the size restrictions of dogs allowed in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats after reports that more large breeds have been abandoned or given up since heftier penalties for unlicensed dogs kicked in.

One such owner, Mr Desmond Sim, 37, thinks the limits on dog sizes have led to many owners giving them up. Only dogs weighing less than 10kg and 40cm in height are allowed in HDB flats.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took in 107 dogs during a five-week period after the Aug 3 increase in fines from $500 to $5,000. It took in 62 dogs in July.

“As dog lovers, we are saddened and angry that this is happening,” Mr Sim told Today. He also questioned the “inconsistency” of the ruling since the size restrictions apply only to HDB flats.


The “amnesty” for dog owners to license their pets still stands, said the AVA.

“When they come forward on their own accord to apply for the licence, we won’t take action against them for having an unlicensed dog,” clarified spokesperson Goh Shih Yong. “However, if our officers visit their premises and find them keeping unliencsed dogs, we would take action against the owner.”

The AVA is looking at an “overwhelming” number of onlnie applications. Due to this and to incomplete applications, processing may take at least a month. But owners who have applied will not be penalised if they can show their application number. Owners will be informed by SMS or telephone to make payment when their licences are approved, said the AVA.

The Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), which oversees the licensing of pets, said private residential apartments are governed by their own by-laws and have their own policies on pets, while HDB oversees policies on public housing.

An HDB spokesperson said the approved breeds are “more manageable in an HDB environment … Smaller dogs can also be carried, especially in confined spaces like lifts where owners may need to keep them away from neighbours averse to dogs”.

But educator Susan Chua, 39, reasoned: “If owners exercise prudence and responsibility and train a large-breed dog or cat, why shouldn’t they be able to live in harmony in a HDB block?”

She added animal shelters could not cope with these abandoned dogs and cats, “and these animals are being put down daily as a result”.

The SPCA clarified that there has been no increase in the number of dogs being put down. But as the only animal welfare organisation taking in unlimited numbers, it is struggling to house all of them, said SPCA executive officer Deirdre Moss. About 800 cats, dogs, hamsters and rabbits are handed over to the SPCA each month, but it has room only for about 160 animals.

“Due to the large numbers coming in, a stringent selection criteria for adoption is carried out based on health, temperament, age and space,” Ms Moss said. “If owners are unable to re-home their pets, it puts us in the very difficult position of having to pick and choose among many.”

She thinks the increase in the number of abandoned or relinquished pets is a short-term fallout of the enhanced rules.

But dog licensing has been around for more than 50 years and “there is no reason for owners to abandon their pets because the rules have been enhanced”, said Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of the AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control. It is an offence to abandon a pet, and those guilty could be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to a year or both, he said.

Ms Moss encouraged owners with valid reasons for keeping large breeds to appeal to the HDB.

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