TODAY 20071030: Legislate behavioural training for pets


Well, finally, we see a positive letter in the HDB pet rules debate (Large dogs: Time for a rethink). This was sent in by a friend, and it’s heavily edited. Appended is her original, intact letter. Still, better than no letter speaking up for the pet dogs and cats in our midst!

More importantly, if you haven’t done so, PLEASE WRITE A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF CHANGING THE HDB PET RULES.

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Legislate behavioural training for pets

Tuesday • October 30, 2007

Letter from teo li lian

I refer to the debate on whether the Housing and Development Board should re-look its rules regarding allowing large dogs in HDB flats.

I feel that part of the problem is that behavioural training for pets is not mandated. Most dogs do require “schooling” in order to know how to behave among people. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority should legislate behaviour training for dogs and make it compulsory for pet shops to counsel dog buyers to send their newly- bought pets for training.

The HDB pet rules must be changed to better reflect the aspirations of the modern Singaporean who want pets, and at the same time, ensure that pet owners are responsible.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.

Intact letter (links mine)

Date: Oct 28, 2007 3:26 PM
Subject: Response to “Owners should be made responsible for pets’ actions” (Oct 27)
To: news@newstoday.com.sg

Dear Editor,
I agree with Ms Tow Milan’s view that “Owners should be made responsible for pets’ actions” (Oct 27). Her view that “the main problem lies with owners” is absolutely right. As a responsible dog owner, I fully agree that such irresponsible owners “should be made to undertake full responsibility for their pets’ actions”, as Ms Tow said.

However, I strongly disagree with her plea to HDB to tighten the pet rules. As it is, the rules are proving themselves ineffective. I believe the abandoned dogs in the report “Large dogs: time for a rethink” (Oct 26), are former HDB pets. And in my experience doing Trap-Neuter-Release management for the community cats in my neighbourhood, it is irrresponsible flat-dwellers who let their pet cats out to wander and cause problems for their neighbours.

Ultimately, irresponsible pet owners are the ones who are responsible for causing the unpleasant waste accumulation at Ms Tow’s front door. We should punish the pet owners for what can be deemed as littering offences and not managing their pets, not the animals who are just doing what comes naturally to them. Therefore, the HDB’s ban on cats and large dogs clearly is not effective at all!

Ms Tow is astute in her observation that untrained pets are not suitable for flats. Actually, untrained pets are not suitable for any type of housing.

I feel that part of the problem is that behavioral training is not mandated. Despite their image as obedient animals who are eager to please their human masters, most dogs do require “schooling” in order to know how to behave among people. The AVA should legislate behavior training for dogs and make it compulsory for pet shops to counsel dog buyers to send their newly bought pets for training.

The HDB pet rules must be changed to better reflect the aspirations of the modern Singaporean who wants to have pets, and at the same time, ensure that pet owners are responsible. But changing the rules does not mean relaxing the rules, as is Ms Tow’s concern. In fact, the right changes could be beneficial to Ms Tow’s concerns.

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