Fined for righting a wrong

Homeless dogs in Singapore have it worse than cats in a lot of ways – for one, they are bigger and more visible, and it doesn’t help that they run in packs.

I just came across this article and the reply from AVA about the conditions of the dogs. Once again, loopholes you can dance the sub-prime crisis through abound. Kudos to the TWO GOOD SAMARITANS. There are too few people with heart in Singapore.

ELECTRIC NEWSBukit Batok strangers become STRAYS’ BEST FRIENDS
By Hedy Khoo

September 22, 2008

WOULD you spend thousands of dollars to give a stray dog a proper home?

Click to see larger image 

Two Good Samaritans did just that.

When they found out the stray dogs in their neighbourhoods had been impounded by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), they decided to claim ownership.

But they each had to pay between $400 and $500 in fines first because they were regarded as owners who had allowed their dogs to wander around without a license.

The two of them do not know each other.

After claiming the dogs, they paid a monthly fee of $130 for them to live at an animal boarding house, Pet’s Villa, in Pasir Ris.

Madam May Tan, 43, a trader, first came across her dog, which she named Angel May, at a park in Bukit Batok West last year.

She would see the dog regularly until last September, when it went missing.

‘She was usually with a pack of dogs, and I found her special because she was the only one which would come up to me and allow me to pet her on the head,’ said Madam Tan.

She then heard that officers from the AVA had caught some dogs in the area.

‘I panicked and went to the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control. I was so relieved that she was alive,’ she said.

Madam Tan paid the fine and applied for a licence for it. But that wasn’t all.

She later paid more than $2,000 in veterinary fees as Angel May was badly infected and in a poor condition.

‘I couldn’t keep her at home as I already have three dogs. I managed to get a place for her at Pet Villa, but she had to be sterilised and vaccinated,’ she said.

Every Sunday, Madam Tan, her husband and her daughter go to Pet Villa to see Angel May. They also help to clean the area and feed the other dogs there.

Said Madam Tan: ‘It’s not just about giving money. There is a lack of volunteers to maintain the area, and I want Angel May and the other dogs to have a clean home.’

The other dog lover, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lin, had first seen the dog, which he calls Ah Boy, at a park in the east in 2005.

‘Other park-goers who went there regularly would feed him. He would usually eat and then wander off,’ the 28-year-old, who is self-employed, recalled. ‘But even when I didn’t feed him, he would sit near me whenever I was there. Maybe he could sense that I like animals.’

Mr Lin would visit the park two or three times a week. Then, last November, he noticed that the dog was gone.

Like Madam Tan, he became worried and called the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which checked and told him that the dog was with the AVA.


Mr Lin then went to the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control to claim the dog.

‘I was shocked when I saw him. He had been there for almost a week and had lost a lot of weight. He looked very forlorn,’ said MrLin. ‘Though he wasn’t my dog, I decided to pay the fine and get him a licence.’

Mr Lin also took the dog to the vet and had him checked and vaccinated. He had to pay another $400 in veterinary charges.

‘I would love to have Ah Boy live with me, but I live alone and it is not fair for me to leave him in an apartment on his own,’ said MrLin. ‘He was a stray dog and he needs a lot of space to roam around.’

He now pays $130 monthly for his dog to be boarded. He visits the place every weekend to bathe and play with the dog.

‘It’s amazing to see how Ah Boy has transformed. He is about 5 years old, but in the past year, I managed to get him to obey some simple commands like ‘Sit’ ‘.

Asked why he chose to adopt and care for an adult stray dog, Mr Lin replied with a smile: ‘He is my friend. If you know a friend is in trouble, you would do your best to help.

‘He needed me and I did what I could. It was fate. I didn’t pick him. He chose me to be his friend,’ he added, tears glistening in his eyes.

And here is the apparent torchlight into the dank and dark labyrinthe of the AVA’s lofty standards

AVA: Impounded dogs are kept in pound and given food, water and care
October 11, 2008

WE refer to the letter, ‘Touched by animal lovers, puzzled by AVA’ (The New Paper, 30 Sep).

As one of our measures to keep the stray dog population in check, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) impounds any dog found straying in the streets.

Impounded dogs are kept in the pound at AVA’s Centre for Animal Welfare and Control and are provided with food, water and veterinary care until they are claimed by their owners or put to sleep (in the case of unwanted stray dogs).

Dogs which show signs of ownership (eg. if they wear a collar or appear well-groomed) will be kept for five days pending possible claim by the owner.

Unwanted stray dogs are put to sleep after two days.

Owners who claim their lost dogs have to bear the costs incurred for the impoundment, food, lodging and care of their dogs. Owners of unlicensed dogs will also be fined as it is a compulsory requirement under the Dog Licensing and Control rules for owners to license their dogs.

In the case of the dogs in Bukit Batok, both dogs were not licensed. The dogs were released, in good condition, to Madam Tan and Ms Lin within three days of impoundment.

Madam Tan and Ms Lin claimed to be the respective owners and the dogs were observed to respond to them.

Both Madam Tan and Ms Lin were fined for failing to license their dogs. They also had to pay for the expenses incurred for the duration of the dogs’ stay at the pound.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind dog owners that it is compulsory to license their dogs.

Dog owners are also encouraged to let their dogs wear identification tags so as to facilitate the return of the dogs in the event of loss.

Dog owners must also practise responsible dog ownership by having their dogs on leash in public places and not allowing them to stray.


In Singapore’s context, Canine Control definitely presents The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups. Culling is not the answer, and it has never been the answer. So after decades of culling, why hasn’t the light turned on for someone in a seat of Singapore political power? Why still no concerted effort and drive from the vaulted Singapore government to EFFECTIVELY control homeless animal populations and SOLVE the root causes? Imagine if the Singapore government adopted this attitude towards nation-building… what a cold hard thought.


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