Tag Archives: animal population control

Area1: Snippety Happy

We thought we had a new kitty in the hood… what do we know.

The kitty we confirmed about 2 weeks was an agouti female – she was sitting right outside our door, on the ninth floor, on a night when btmao returned home late, thus confirming herself to us. Like Isam when he first appeared, and Brenda, she seemed to trying to find her home, going up and down in tireless frenzy the blocks in the ‘hood.

Around the same time, we spotted a new silver spotted tabby male, young but with fullly ripe “grapes”.

Available adult female, add virile adult male. Bad combo. But as ever, they were scaredy-attention seeking (typical of newly abandoned pets), elusive and refused to give us their daily agenga. Talk about guerilla warfare.

This morning, we spotted the female downing some cooked rice strewn on the muddy roots of a tree. She ran off as I approached. So this evening we decided we would try to nail someone, anyone, to some sort of kitty schedule.

We got more than we ask for… different than what we hoped but definitely more.

We met a new kitty. A striped female with a stumpy tail and surprise of surprises – a tipped ear. She’s a carpark denizen and completely friendly.

Then while btmao fed her, I went round the neighbourhood. The silver spotted tabby boy was out and about, up to his usual frenetic search up and down the blocks looking for a home. But at least he was calm enough and friendly. We decided to call V to come collect him, not least because his loudmouth tendency wasn’t doing himself any fabours.

Thankfully V was available to swing by, ETA 9-ish. The silver spotted tabby boy wouldn’t know what hit him. He’s friendly, bright-eyed but definitely putting on the coy. His call even sounded like he’s wanting to show some lucky gal what a lover he was. And his advertisement was being answered. We were standing at the foot of a block. I heard someone responding to him, but it took btmao’s 6/6 vision (she went home for supplies), to spot the furry Rappunzel up on the third floor, upper body clear over the ledge and at the ready to fly down.

I went up to take a look. It was the rice-gulping agouti-female. But she was right on the ledge and let out a very scared howl. So I left her, and btmao to juggle her watch. btmao had to chaparone the loverlorn twosome as I had to go home to finish up some work. I also told her she just missed Brenda trotting by a while.

btmao just got home and gave me the surprise of week. When I went looking for the spotted tabby boy, he had climbed to the second floor of another block (he’s got the Isam’s initial run-up-and-down-every-block bug), where I had spotted 3 young cats in front of a flat (which occpuants refused to open and talk), 1 friendly ginger and 3 SCAREDY dilute gingers. The friendly I could see was a boy. That was in March. Since then I’ve not caught sight of them except for a chance encounter with one of the dilutes at the foot of our block in the compromised position of pooping. So tonight I requested Vincent to see if he can nab any of the threesome as well. Vincent took care of the spoted tabby boy. btmao met a Malay man who said he feeds nightly using styrofoam plates which he clears (he felt sorry for the many cats around and was angry at irresponsible people who dumped them, ostensibly just “downstairs”) and had just left food for some cats at the ginger’s block. He told her the flat where  where I found the ginger and dilutes loitering belonged to a macik who claimed she doesn’t own them, just fed them as they kept appearing at her door. (The macik, had annoyingly, been trying to lure the spotted tabby boy away while btmao was chaperoning him for V’s arrival) Even Brenda is a regular visitor to her kitty soup kitchen.

So btmao went to see and saw…

… the ginger, one dilute/white cat, and 2 more cats!

V grabbed the friendly ginger and was nearly lynched by the Malay man and his wife/relative on the way back to his van. V kept saying “Sterilise, sterilise” and btmao was luckily there to help defuse the situation too. Ultimately, V got 3 boys from there. The dilute/white was a girl who the Malay man said is already sterilised despite the lack of a tipped ear as he had seen the surgery scar on her. Someone besides us were sterilising kitties in the vicinity it seems (and the Malay man agrees), but who we have no idea, and why was the girl’s ear not tipped? Mysteries.

Sadly, the rice-gulper was not to be found. A minion’s work is truly never done. But now that we know a feeder, who seems responsible, we can try to harness the power for good. Entrapment is the key now.

So in total 4 boys are going to lose their mojo tomorrow. The spotted tabby boy, the ginger, a new tabby white, and a new big-headed agouti tabby tux. The Malay man and his family seemed determined to be there to receive the tom kitties when they return from the event of their lives. I too am looking forward to meeting the new kitties, the responsible feeder encik and make arrangements for the area1 kitties, females or otherwise, still at large. Photos to come too.

But for now we have the task of a lifetime – a ton of names to come up with. Anyone with suggestions for names beginning with C and I? We need about 3 for girls, and 5 for boys. F is also another alphabet we’re using for area1.

Here’s the list of names already owned by our area1 kitties:

Area 1 (135)


Stanley’s back

Another update on the trio.

Stanley has returned after his 2-week convalescence. Earlier this night, we met up with V, and took over Stanley who had his sterilisation on Boxing Day.

He looked very calm in the carrier, so I pushed the camera right up to the carrier door to snap a pic of him, as we may not see him again if he choose to settle down outside of Areas 1 and 2.


Closeup of his tipped left ear.

I couldn’t get a clear shot of the site where the lump was. But it was right behind his left ear. I was able to see the surgical stitches and it looked very clean and was healing nicely. Right before he was released, V had piled on the anti-septic powder on the site too. V said he was a terror to handle, though he didn’t look it.

As soon as the carrier door opened, Stanley shot off, blazing across the road into an area outside of Areas 1 and 2. I’m glad to have taken the pics.

V also checked out the territory of the dilute calico mum and her babies. A separate update on them to come.

Update on the trio

While it may have been the bestest news in a long while when we packed Stanley off for his de-mojo appointment on Christmas evening, we got a bit of a shock on Boxing day. V called btmao for a decision in the morning. Stanley was on the operating table, his juju removed. However, the vet noticed a largish lump on his ear and was asking if we wanted it removed as well. So btmao said yes. It might be a tumour, it might be not, but it seemed to be growing. As V was busy and the reception bad, it was all we had to go on for a while.

Post-surgery, Stanley would need 2 weeks of recovery time. We asked V to foster him if he couldn’t stay at the vet’s. V said he would see what can be done for the big boy. The other two were fine, although Brenda was in heat, which meant that her surgery bill would cost that much more. V would settle the bill and let us know the cost.

On Sunday, 28 Dec, Brenda and Indy returned.

V brought out Indy first. He was still placid, calm, though he did seemed a bit too wild-eyed and overwhelmed. When the carrier door opened, he seemed dumbfolded.

Next was Brenda. But even before we saw her, we heard her. She was crying the block down. We forgot Indy for a moment as we quickly opened the carrier door for her. She shot out like a champion racer and stopped only to get her orientation about 8 metres away. Then she set off purposefully, all the while complaining for the world to hear.


When I turned back from taking this photo, Indy was still inside the carrier. Since I was the one who put him into the carrier, the honour fell to me to get him out. He was still immobile even outside the carrier. So I carried him 5 metres, in the direction of his “home”. He was still immobile. In total, I moved him 5 times, putting him nearly on the doorstep of the family before he clued in to what’s going on. He never did once struggled while I carried him. Obviously, he has deep trust in people and has no inkling of self-preservation.

As for Stanley, the lump behind his ear turned out to be a pus-filled growth, mostly likely a result of an infected wound. He would be fine and need no further follow-up. We settled up with V and would see him when he returned Stanley in 2 weeks’ time.

The next morning, Monday, 29 Dec, I walked out to the mrt station, and was cautiously happy to see that Indy wasn’t outside the flat. Reality bit on Tuesday though. I can no longer be surprised at the nonchalance of the family.

It was not until last night that we met Brenda for the first time after her surgery. She seemed well, though a different cat from the one we released, simply because she wasn’t crying at the top of her lungs nor wary. In fact, she was extremely affectionate and chatting softly.


She was more interested in headbutts and kisses, and kept coming up to btmao and me while the juices of the food seeped through her dinner plate. Finally she ate.


But only a little.



She was still more interested in getting some attention.

In fact, she tried to follow us home.

She looks emaciated, and given our emphasis on not sterilising very skinny cats (especially if their history is not known), it might seemed a contrarian decision to sterilise her. But compared to the first time I saw her, she is actually padded. Also, her fur looks good, again unlike the baldy flanks she spotted then. She is doing well and should settle down fine now that her hormones won’t bother her anymore. We suspect she might be a newly displaced free-ranging pet cat from across the road (like Ryan) as she seemed to commute between the blocks there and Area1. She might also be a newly abandoned pet.

Mr Safety goes cat trapping

Remember the purveyor of meankitty pop? Yes, Mr Safety himself is spreading the necessary message: STERILISE, DAMMIT!

Ok so not in the same tone… just watch the vid please:

Remember, it is up to us, people, to change Singapore’s Love-Hate Relationship with TNRM, to remove the tormenting paradox. Don’t hope for a national pet project, because neither authorities nor Singapore’s straitlaced leaders will lead the charge. Bureaucratic red tape is perfect foil. Reduce the number of animals on the streets, reduce the number who die every year under the guise of humane termination.

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.

Today 20080821: Why culling is necessary? …

Another template letter, a AVA response to this letter which was in response to this template AVA letter, stemming from the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline
Why culling is necessary? …

Thursday • August 21, 2008

Letter from Goh Shih Yong

Assistant Director, Corporate Communications
for Chief Executive Officer
Agri-food & Veterinary Authority
Ministry Of National Development

WE REFER to “Why cull a dog that has been sterilised?” (Aug 15).

Rabies is an acute viral disease transmitted to man by the bite of a rabid animal, most commonly a dog, and the outcome is usually fatal. Though Singapore is free from rabies, the disease is endemic in the region. Hence, we have to remain constantly vigilant as the possibility of rabies entering Singapore remains.

It is especially important to keep the stray dog population in check as stray dogs are highly susceptible to rabies.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) encourages sterilisation as it is one of the ways to help prevent the proliferation of strays. However, sterilisation by itself is not an effective means to control the stray dog population.

Even though culling is an unfortunate task that we would rather not perform, it has to be carried out as an important measure to keep the stray dog population in check.

While AVA encourages the adoption of strays, we agree with the writer that it is not possible to find suitable homes for all the strays. Hence, it is inevitable that some of them have to be put down humanely.

Notwithstanding this, we would like to assure the public that AVA remains concerned about strays and animalwelfare.

We believe that education is key to arresting the pet abandonment and stray animal problem in the long term. We will continue our public education programme and work closely with welfare groups to promote responsible pet ownership.

We thank Ms Jill Hum for her feedback.

The rabies excuse being trotted around is interesting, in light of the fact that this is found on the AVA website:

1. With effect from February 2001, pet dogs and cats from Singapore can be exported to the United Kingdom without having to undergo the 6 months quarantine period. The UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has informed the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) that they have accepted Singapore as a rabies free island under their Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). This Scheme was introduced in Feb 2000 to allow pets to travel between UK and approved European countries.

4. … Singapore has been free from rabies since 1953. To ensure that Singapore continues to be free from rabies, the AVA requires all imported cats and dogs (unless they are from rabies free countries) to be vaccinated against rabies and quarantined for at least 30 days in the Jurong Animal Quarantine Station on arrival. A person who imports a dog or cat from a non-rabies free country into Singapore without ensuring that the animal is vaccinated against rabies and quarantined on arrival is liable on conviction to a fine of $500 as well as a
jail term of 6 months.


So effectively, any outbreak of rabies would probably be from imported cats and dogs, not native furries. Even though the AVA is not interested in doing anything more than pay lip service to local animal welfare, shouldn’t it a least be concentrating on ensuring furries into Singapore ARE rabies-free rather than go after homeless animals that are sterilised and responsibly cared for? Talk about barking up the wrong tree.


To rub salt into the Singaporean intellectual wound, Sri Lanka, a country that’s behind Singapore’s per capita gdp by a whopping 95.44% 2192.11% (or another view: Sri Lanka’s is only 4.56% if Singapore’s is taken as a whole)*, IS taking concrete and humane steps at the national level to address the problem of rabies and homeless animal population control. Action speaks louder than words, but nothing is quite so loud as a pin hitting the ground of dead silence.

EDIT: Mea culpa, mathethical malfunction there. The percentages are corrected now, showing a even more stark contrast.

Today 20080815: Why cull a dog that has been sterilised??

Another letter in response to the article: Canine Control. The Stray Dilemma For Animal Groups

This story was printed from TODAYonline

Why cull a dog that has been sterilised??

Friday • August 15, 2008

Letter from Jill Hum

I REFER to “Microchipping helps AVA in management of strays” (Aug 11).

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said that it culls stray dogs “to manage the population which poses a risk to transmission of rabies should this be introduced into Singapore” .

Surely there must be a better and less drastic method to combat the threat of rabies than culling?

Anecdotal evidence has shown that sterilisation and not culling is the most effective way to manage the stray population, so why the insistence on culling?

The AVA also said that “even strays which have been sterilised should be properly licensed and homed and not be returned to the environment”.

While I agree with this, I hope theAVA also realises that it is impossible to find homes for all sterilised strays. There are just too many of them. In the meantime, there is no choice but to return those that cannot be rehomed to their original environment.

Animal welfare organisations take the time, trouble and money to sterilise strays to control the population. To cull even sterilised strays is like saying that these strays do not have the right to live.

I urge the AVA to adopt a more compassionate and enlightened approach towards the management of these strays.