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Priority Issues

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Actionable Opportunity Areas

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Knowledge Gaps

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Key Statistics & Figures

[These should include figures that affect all or most animal groups of interest; specific figures should be found in the specific segments]

The number of pets in Singapore increased from 816115 in 2014 to 824600 in 2016 (Euromonitor International quoted in [1]).

The number of pet dogs in Singapore increased from 47000 in 2006 to 62000 in 2015 [1], while the number of dog owners in Singapore increased from 40500 in 2015 to 42000 in 2016 [2].

In 2017 and 2018, there were about 7000 stray dogs in Singapore [3] [4].

From 1998 to 2003, there were about 80000 stray cats in Singapore [5]. This number has been brought down to about 50000 in 2014 [5].

The number of vet clinics in Singapore increased from 53 in 2011 to 75 in 2015 (AVA quoted in [1]).

Definitions and Scope

Official definitions

Biologically, animals are organisms under the kingdom Animalia. Colloquially, animals usually refer to non-human organisms of the above group. According to Singapore’s Animals and Birds Act, an animal is defined as “any mammal (other than man) or fish and includes any other living creature that is prescribed as an animal for the purposes of this Act or that falls within a class of animals that is prescribed for those purposes” [6] while a bird is termed to include “domestic fowls, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea fowls and pigeons of any age or sex and the eggs thereof” [6]. However, the definition of an animal in Singapore's Road Traffic Act is "any horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog", thus excluding other animals like cats and wildlife [7]. Reviewing this definition of animals in the Road Traffic Act was first mentioned in 2016 but has been said to be under review in 2019 again [7].

The broad term of "animals" can be further broken down into various categories: pets, community animals, wildlife, livestock and animals in scientific research.


Refer to this NParks web page for a list of allowed pets in Singapore. Other animals are not allowed as pets due to reasons listed on this NParks web page.

Community Animals

Community animals are also known as strays and refers to the "dogs and cats living in communal areas around us" [8].

Wild Animals

According to Wild Animals and Birds Act, wild animals and birds includes "all species of animals and birds of a wild nature, but does not include domestic dogs and cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, domestic pigs, poultry and ducks".

Since 2020, the Wild Animals and Birds Act has been amended and now known as the WIldlife Act, where animals include "any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish or invertebrate, whether of a wild nature or otherwise" [9].


Livestock in Singapore consists of hen (for eggs), fish, crustaceans and molluscs [10].

Areas of Needs / Desired Outcomes


Uneducated Decision-making by Potential Pet Owners

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Lack of Training

Regulations on pets in HDB flats are in part motivated by the need to maintain cohesion amongst neighbours [11], as human-dog conflicts can result if people are not mindful. Thus, training can also help achieve this social cohesion. However, there are barriers to this. Teaching the right behaviours is difficult since most owners are unaware of what is right or how to eradicate unwanted behaviour which can lead to owners reinforcing them instead. Even if owners consulted certified dog trainers, they would still need time and effort to continue the training which is often neglected due to the hectic schedules of Singaporeans [12]. Singaporeans tend to be unaware of the importance of pet training and that our pet population is largely untrained.

While there are many effective methods to train dogs, some of them may require the use of force. One training technique used in Singapore is dominance-based and may consist of choking the dog until it submits. There are possible explanations on why such methods are still prevalent despite the growing concern for animal welfare. One explanation is due to some peoples’ belief that these forceful methods are effective quick fixes to achieving training goals. Another explanation is that the promotion of force-free training methods are hindered by the controversy and research challenges in the field. This is despite literature suggesting that force-free methods are more effective in the long run and actually highlights the dogs’ unique value through a bond of mutual benefit than if using a typical human-centric approach (Pręgowski, M. P. (2015)). Dog owners may also procrastinate looking for a trainer and going for paid courses, and looking for dog trainer that owners are comfortable with may be challenging. Furthermore, most dog trainers in Singapore do not fully use positive training methods [13] [14]. In fact, even many of the AVS accredited trainers do not fully use positive training methods [13].


Cases of pet abandonment are still on the rise. This is especially so for cats, where the cases increased from 9 to 21 to 57 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively [15]. One root cause of this problem is online marketplaces where there are black markets for pedigree cats created by backyard breeders who breed them and sell them on platforms like Facebook, Craigslist and Gumtree at 20% of prices in licensed stores [15]. Another root cause could be the price of sterilization, which can go up to as high as $500, leading to overbreeding and abandonment [15].

Some pet stores reported an increase in sales during the Year of the Dog in 2006 though there was no evidence of this in 2018 [16]. in the period from 2008 to 2010, there was an increase in dogs being surrended to animal welfare groups, likely due to impulse purchases or purchases driven by auspicious beliefs during the Year of the Dog in 2006 [16]. The SPCA took in 3002 dogs in 2007, which is an increase from 2727 in 2006, and 14% more dogs were unclaimed lost pets [17]. Increase in cases of abandonment also often correspond with spring cleaning during the festive season, often involving older animals [16]. This could be motivated by the belief of sweeping out the old and ushering in the new[18]. Actual figures are unclear but in 2012, it was estimated that a number of dogs and more than 60 cats were abandoned [18].

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the problem has exacerbated likely due to paranoia of human-animal transmission of the virus. While the number of rabbit abandonment cases were low and usually of sick rabbits, there were recent cases of relatively healthy looking rabbits being abandoned [19].

Cases of abandonment commonly occurs when owners are expecting children or when animals fall ill [20].

Tracking of dog abandonment data since 2015 by AVA [21] A fine of 10 000 and 12 months jail term can serve as a deterrent to most but to a lot of wealthy folks, it might not and they might think they can find a way to bail themselves out.

All dogs have to be licensed to the new owner and this is said to improve traceability and ensures owners can be held accountable for their dogs.

However, this article did not establish trends/statistics of patterns and a possible cause for this could be that this is on a small section of a government website which was meant to be a concise section only detailing ramifications of pet abandonment/cruelty

Microchipping for dogs
  • A microchip is a small transponder serving as a permanent identification system that is implanted under your pet's skin and read by a microchip scanner [22]. It can store information such as information on the pet's owner, breed, emergency contact numbers, health problems and food requirements [22]. The cost of microchipping is $50-90 [23].
  • Enhanced rules on microchipping and licensing has been mandated for dogs [23], where since 2017, all dogs have to be licensed to their owners at the point of sale or adoption [21], and since 2018, dog owners are incentivised through discounts and rebates respectively to apply for 2-year or 3-year licenses (rather than the usual 1-year licenses) and make payment for them using electronic platforms [24]
  • The mandated enhanced rules has lead to a reduction in dog abandonment cases [15]. This is largely due to the ability to track lost or abandoned pets back to their owners, which also deters owners from abandoning their pets by increasing accountability.
  • Serve as a responsible breeder’s assurance to buyers that puppies being sold are traceable and identifiable [22].
  • The high cost of 500 is said to be a deterrent to the owners sterilizing the cats as its said to be "expensive" which in turn leads to backyard breeding and high abandonment cases.
  • Animal activists have said that microchipping alone will be ineffective and insufficient and that measures like mandatory sterilization, possibly at subsidized rates is needed too.
  • The fine of 10 000 and 12 months jail time can be argued to be effective but only to a limited degree because for many wealthy individuals a sum of 10 000 might not deter them and neither will jail time deter them because they might feel they can bail their way out.
  • Ever since these government microchipping rules, SPCA has noted a decline in the number of dogs that had to be taken in.
  • However, for microchipping to be more effective, experts say that HDBs have to relax their rules on keeping of cats in flats when needed.
Microchipping for cats

There is an ongoing pilot for the microchipping of cats in the Chong Pang area [15], under Project Love Cats [25]. If outcomes are desirable and there is significant support from the community, this will be expanded [15].

The benefit of increased accountability of owners for their cats via microchipping is likely to also be the hindrance for success. This is because under current HDB rules, cats are not allowed in flats [15]. The reasons stated for this are that they are challenging to contain, shed fur, urinate/defecate at public areas and make noises that would be disruptive to neighbours [15]. Despite this, there are people who keep cats in HDB flats. HDB’s principal consideration is to preserve pleasant living envy btwn residents who are pet lovers and those affected by neighbours pets [15]. Therefore, if microchipping allows their cats to be linked to their illegal HDB addresses, they would likely be afraid to do so and risk getting caught for not complying with HDB regulations.
  • Ongoing holistic holistic review of the regulatory approach for pet issues, including how to promote responsible pet ownership and deter abandonment [15] [25]
  • Mandatory and subsidised sterilisation [15].
  • Relax HDB regulations on keeping cats in flats [15].
  • There needs to be greater
Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) outreach programmes


  • Conducts public education at various places like schools, public places, and the Animal Management Centre [26]
  • School talks, learning journeys, classroom sessions where students ask pet-related questions to the speaker [24]
  • Annual roadshow involving animal welfare groups [26]
  • Inform existing and potential pet owners about how to care and to be responsible for pets [26]
  • 2016-2018 Happy Pets Happy 'Hood II event at malls [27] [28], where 2017's iteration had an interactive exhibition gallery featuring four key topics – responsible pet ownership, considerate pet ownership, animal welfare, and the recommended approach when encountering stray animals [24] [28]. It involved 12 animal re-homing partners who helped spread the message on RPO and raised funds [24]. There were also stage performances, dog obedience demonstration, pet-related craft activities, guided tours for pre-schoolers, and free basic health checks for pets [24] [27]
  • Free Pet Health Checks (FPHCs) for microchipping, physical examinations and pet health advice to ensure health of pets, and raise awareness on the importance of regular vet care and preventative pet care [27]
  • Matchmaking sessions for potential pet owners and rescued animals e.g. that in the Happy Pets Happy 'Hood II event which was done in a speed dating format [28]
  • Social media campaign promoting RPO and adoption over purchasing for potential dog owners [21]
  • Programmes for the pre-school sector so educating on RPO starts young include talks, learning journeys to the Animal Management Centre, and Innovation Guidance Projects (IGPs) on Responsible Pet Ownership, which is a collaboration between AVA and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) [29]
  • Children book series (four fiction books telling stories of real animals) by two Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduates in Early Childhood Development & Education and AVA to inform preschoolers about RPO and serve as teaching material for parents and teachers [29]
  • CWS' 4 to 6 week awareness programme for students involving [30]:
  1. A simulation exercise with a bag of flour/sugar or an egg, to learn about responsible cat ownership [30].
  2. A talk by a CWS volunteer or student leader to expand on the above experience [30].
  3. Running an awareness booth in the school to educate other schoolmates [30].
  4. Reaching out to the community by joining CWS volunteers in community education and outreach in HDB estates [30].
  • Aims to develop responsibility and empathy towards cats by experiencing what it takes to care for a cat over a period of time, teach students initiative and pro-activeness by organising their own awareness programmes and to spread their passion by sharing their learning points with others [30].
  • CWS', sponsored by AVA and Silent Foundation, set up a 'Catopia' exhibition in 2018 at multiple places to educate the public and students on responsible cat ownership and responsible stray feeding [24]
  • In 2017, the school actvities reached out to 60000 children [24] .
  • 2017 Happy Pets Happy 'Hood II event reached out to 23000 people [24].
  • In 2017, ECDA's Start Small Dream Big event engaged over 22000 pre-schoolers [24]
  • Cat Welfare Society hosts the National Pushcart Challenge where students take a stab at product design and retailing to raise awareness for cat welfare charity and although there was evidence of students helping with bake sales, there is no proven record over the years of effectiveness of these workshops in terms of getting more students to actively adopt/volunteer/feed community cats/gain a genuine interest in cat welfare outside of school etc.
  • In terms of reported "successful" projects, the How To Save A Cat's Life video and Old Is Gold campaign by Nanyang Polytechnic students, the Responsible Cat Feeding video by School of the Arts union. My First Skool@Yung An wrote and illustrated their own children's book about pet care named Charlotte's Cat and sold them to raise funds for cats. These projects were said to be wide reaching but there is no exact statistics of who and how many it reached and how big the funds raised were.
Article and video featuring dog owners
  • Collaboration between AVA, Wellness pet food, AWGs, TheSmartLocal [24]
  • Used stories to spread messages on thinking twice before getting a pet dog during the Year of the Dog and to encourage adoption [24]
School curriculum
  • In 2015, AVA supported MOE schools for the inclusion of animal welfare in the Primary 4 school curriculum [31]
  • SPCA's free resource library of lesson plans for teachers[31]
  • Animal welfare incorporated in the holistic curriculum at United World College, where students are graded for their work on animals in and out of the classroom [31]
  • Students are exposed to at least one lesson on the subject [31]
  • Impacts a wider audience compared to AVA and AWGs educating outside the school curriculum though events like talks and working with students on projects [31]

Animal abandonment legally falls under neglect and any person found guilty of neglecting an animal faces a fine of up to $10,000, and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months [21]. In the case of subsequent offences, the offender faces a fine of up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years [32].

No stats on patterns in Singapore There are cases that go unreported
Dog Whisperer Free Pet Shop
  • Large-scale dog adoption drive [18]
  • Held in February 2012, in light of the rise in abandonment during the festive Chinese New Year period [18]
  • Featured 80 dogs of various breeds and sizes from 4 partner dog shelters: Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Animal Lovers League (ALL), Gentle Paws and Noah’s Ark[18]
  • Partnered with the Singapore Kindness Movement [18]
  • Aimed to raise public awareness of animal welfare efforts, champion adoption and saving lives, and promote responsible pet ownership [18]
  • Activities during the event included illustrations and photography for pets, nutritional dog treats, and sharing by dog obedience trainers and handlers [18]
  • Facebook site had daily features of a dog for adoption on its Facebook site, as well as tips and articles on pet ownership [18]
The aim is to channel awareness on responsible pet ownership, champion adoption and saving lives and raise public awareness on animal welfare efforts in light of news that over 60 cats and a large number of dogs were abandoned during the festive season of 2012.

However, the effectiveness of the drive was not proven in any way.

A possible gap could be because the article focused on the event at the time itself and did not keep track of the effects of the event after that for instance keeping in touch with the participants on their attitude change toward animals and their actions in actively being of help to animals i.e adopting/donating/volunteering at a shelter or animal daycare
  • Pet farm license for breeding animals
  • Pet shop licence for keeping or displaying animals for sale

Information on licence conditions for various farm types can be found below.


Cases of neglect could be due to owners’ lack of awareness or carelessness in pet care [20].


Pet owners are under a duty to [32]:

  • Provide their pet with adequate and suitable food and water;
  • Provide their pet with adequate shelter;
  • Not subject the pet to unreasonable or unnecessary pain or suffering in how they are handled, or confined; 
  • Protect their pet from any significant injury or disease; and
  • Make efforts to find their pets if they go missing.

Any person found guilty of neglecting an animal faces a fine of up to $10,000, and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months [32]. In the case of subsequent offences, the offender faces a fine of up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 2 years [32]. Where the person commits such an offence while in the course of employment in an animal-related business (e.g. at a pet boarding facility), they will be liable for a fine of up to $40,000 and/or to imprisonment for up to 2 years. In the case of subsequent offences, the offender faces a fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 years [32].

The court has the power to disqualify those found guilty of animal cruelty or neglect from owning all kinds of animals for up to 12 months [32]. When such a disqualification order is made, the court may also take away any animals owned by the offender [32]. The court may also order for the animal to receive veterinary treatment [32]. In this situation, the offender is liable for all costs of the animal’s treatment until it has recovered [32].

It is good that there is a clear differentiation between the kinds of animal abuses such as cruelty and neglect, what happens to the animals after abuse and what to do when witnessing a dead/abused animal, steps to take when witnessing such animal abuse which will hopefully be more informative for the public and thus help combat cases of animal abuse or at least be more vigilant toward them. However, there is again no concrete evidence with data/statistics that illustrate a clear pattern of societal change both in terms of behavior and attitude toward animal abuse
AVA's Code of Animal Welfare for Pet Owners and for Pet Industry
  • Derived from the collaboration with the Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration Committee (MSCC), formed in 2013 and includes the government, community, animal welfare groups, pet industry and vets [24] [33]

For Pet Owners (since 2017)

  • States the minimum standards for pet owners' accountabiliity, housing, environment, management and care of their pets that pet owners should refer to [24]
  • Shared through 2017's storytelling sessions in libraries together with People's Association and National Library Board [24]
  • Find out more about the Code (for pet owners) here

For Pet Industry (since 2016)

  • States the minimum standards and best practices for housing, management and care for pet businesses to comply with and adopt to increase animal welfare [34]
  • Find out more about the Code (for pet industry) here.
Backs up prosecution or other enforcement actions for animal welfare breaches [24] It is not an offence if minimum standards are not met [24]


There was a reported increase in feedback on alleged animal cruelty from January to October from 260 in 2016 to 270 in 2017 [20]. Majority of cases do not actually involve abused animals, thus possibly suggesting that the public is increasingly aware of animal welfare and willing to report [20]. This has resulted in an increase in enforcement and prosecution in animal cruelty cases from 4% amongst reported cases in 2016 to 5% in 2017 [20]. Underlying causes of animal abuse could be due to a lack of empathy or a failure to manage anger and frustration, though most abusers are found to be mentally sound [20]. This suggests that educating children from young is crucial, and that they should not be desensitised to cruel and violent actions [20].

There has also been cases of companies being found guilty of animal abuse/cruelty cases. An infamous case of animal abuse is the Platinum Dogs Club scandal in 2018 [35].


A person commits animal cruelty if they [32]:

  • Cause or allow any unnecessary physical or psychological pain or suffering to any animal by beating, kicking, torturing, ill-treating or terrifying the animal;
  • Make a sick or unfit animal work; or
  • Are involved in any business or incident related to animal fighting (e.g. dogfighting or cockfighting).

Any person found guilty of animal cruelty faces a fine of up to $15,000, and/or imprisonment for up to 18 months [32]. In the case of subsequent offences, the offender faces a fine of up to $30,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years [32]

The court has the power to disqualify those found guilty of animal cruelty or neglect from owning all kinds of animals for up to 12 months [32]. When such a disqualification order is made, the court may also take away any animals owned by the offender [32]. The court may also order for the animal to receive veterinary treatment [32]. In this situation, the offender is liable for all costs of the animal’s treatment until it has recovered [32].

Offender who ran down 19 flights of stairs dragging the dog was sentenced to a maximum imprisonment of 18 months for 1 count of cruelty and additional 2 months for abandonment and was also disqualified from owning animals for 12 months. There was only one example of penalties on a real life abuse case

There is no evidence on how penalties have deterred the Singaporean public enough so much so that statistics confirm animal abuse cases in SG have decreased greatly.


Upon discovery of injured animals and when the SPCA has been alerted, Animal Rescue Officers who are on call 24/7 will be dispatched [32]. They will bring the animal to SPCA’s vets for medical treatment [32]. After treatment, most of these animals are released back into the community, put up for adoption or fostered by a fosterer [32]. Unfortunately, in some cases, the animal either does not survive the abuse, or is in such a state that they must be euthanised [32]. In such a situation, the court may make an order to euthanise the animal [32].

The SPCA does not have any powers of enforcement [32].
NParks AVS' and SPCA's Inspectorate Teams

People can report cases and evidence to these teams [20].

A 45 year old was sentenced to maximum jail time, under the law, 18 months for animal cruelty which shows that these inspectorate teams with the help of CCTVs and inspectorate teams working collaboratively and around the clock.

The president of SPCA said that it receives from 50-70 animal abuse complaints every month which suggests some degree of effectiveness as there are people who trust or have hope in these rescue groups and inspectorate teams that they make the effort to lodge reports.

End-of-life and Post-death Arrangements

[to be inserted]

Release of Animals

[link to wild life]

Mercy release is a common practice during Vesak Day, intended as a compassionate act to save lives of animals that are captive or slated for slaughter [36]. Various types of animals from birds to fishes, terrapins and insects have been released by devotees for the purpose [36]. This has caused various problems and unintended consequences. It has been reported that 80-90% of animals which were released die within 24 hours due to exhaustion, injury, disease or predation [36]. This is because many of these animals were bred in captivity and thus are not equipped to survive in the wild. This practice also encourages the illegal wildlife trade as it creates a market for animals smuggled into Singapore, which leads to cases of animals suffering during the travelling process [36]. The release of non-native animals into our environment can also compete with native species and unbalance the ecology [36]. One example would be how the commonly sold pet, the red-eared sliders, can grow extensively over their relatively long lifespans and outbreed the native Malayan Box Turtle [36]. Even the release of small creatures like insects can create undesirable impacts such as bird feeding frenzies and the alteration of long-tailed macaques' feeding behaviours when released in large numbers and in certain locations [36].

Parks and Trees Act

Any person who is caught releasing animals can be fined up to $50000, jailed for up to 6 months, or both [36].

Wildlife Act (amendment of the above Animals and Birds Act in 2020)
  • There will now be a new S$5,000 fine for the release of animals [37]
  • The release of wildlife will now be extended to the whole of Singapore, instead of just in parks and nature reserves [37]
Operation No Release

Annual campaign introduced in 2006 [36]

Campaign promoting hu sheng ("protect life")

Started by the owner of a pet supplies store called Animal Human Alliance [36]

Although paved with good intentions, mercy releases during Vesak do not help animals and in fact actually put them in more danger as these animals are susceptible to being hunted by other animals. It can also hurt the ecosystem
Initiative by Singapore's only 24-hour Tibetan Buddhist temple 
  • Provided blessings for pets and allowed AWGs to conduct adoption drives for strays [38]
  • Carnival event with food and games stalls, as well as a book launch for "Buddha" by Patrick Yee who also wrote the Rosie Rabbit children's book series [38]
  • Collaborated with 4 AWGs: Animal Human Alliance, Cat Welfare Society, Purely Adoptions and Forget Me Not [38]
  • Motivated by the belief that benefitting strays leads to better outcomes than buying animals to release as the latter causes environmental harm [38]
  • Aimed to promote social and spiritual cohesion and the idea of equality of all beings [38]
Over 800 devotees attended and many of them seemed to actively participate and show enthusiasm as opposed to just attending and being passive [38]

Although it is said that at this drive, many of the animals were blessed in religious ways, there is no tangible evidence of how they were effected- for instance if the blessings healed any physical ailments of theirs etc

Keeping of Exotic Animals

Examples of exotic animals that should not be kept as pets are iguanas, tarantulas, scorpions, star tortoise, snakes, salamanders, sugar gliders, slow lories, hedgehogs and gibbons [39] [40]. The top five most common illegal wildlife seized by AVA are star tortoises, hedgehogs, ball pythons, sugar gliders and leopard geckos [41].  There is an increasing trend of keeping and trading exotic animals as pets, where AVA reported that cases of possessing or selling these animals rose from 10 in 2014 to 20 in 2015 [42]. From 2013 to 2017, AVA managed 105 cases of possessing, selling and trading live wild animals seized from Singapore’s borders, inland possession and online sales [41]. Similarly, illegal wildlife seizures in Singapore has also increased from 12 in 2014 to 25 in 2015 and 31 in 2016 [42]. In 2016, ACRES managed 133 wildlife trade cases and 2-3 calls per week relating to illegal exotic pet [42]. In 2017, ACRES discovered over 500 online advertisements of banned wildlife - both live animals and their parts [41]. While the trade is lucrative, AVA believes that these animals should not be kept as pets due to the risks of being released into the wild where they may negatively impact the ecosystem and native biodiversity or escaping where they may cause conflicts with neighbours [42]. According to Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, Singapore is one of the top 10 wildlife smuggling hubs due to its geographical location and transport connectivity [42]. The motivation to own exotic pets stems from various psychological factors such as prestige, to be different, or to own something rare and unique that is more valuable than what is common [42]. Other reasons to have exotic pets are personal benefits and gratification that comes from novelty and non mainstream entertainment, the thrill that comes with a challenging and novel learning experience in caring for exotic pets, the special forms of love and companionship from exotic pets, the contribution to the survival of the species through captive breeding, the belief that exotic pets can be domesticated as well and financial benefits from sales of such pets or in using them as models for media purposes [43]. The welfare of these exotic pets are often compromised where they are found housed in unacceptable conditions, due to the lack of responsibility and knowledge on proper care [42], especially since these animals are often exceptionally challenging to maintain as pets due to special requirements that make sense only with a solid foundation of the animals’ biology [41]. Even before they become pets, their welfare is already compromised during the transport, capture and harm caused by poachers and traffickers [39]. Another reason against keeping exotic pets is the risk of introducing and spreading novel or zoonotic diseases [40], such as Salmonella from reptiles [41]. There are others who believe that the ban should be eased as some reptiles do not have big appetites that will affect native biodiversity and the welfare of these animals can be ensured if they are kept with the right conditions [42]. Some people also question the ban since many other countries allow animals like reptiles and beetles as pets without apparent issues [44]. These animals, compared to common pets like dogs and cats, can be seen to bring less inconvenience to the neighbourhood as they are contained in enclosures, make less noise and are less likely to spread diseases than typical warm-blooded pets [45].

Wild Animals and Birds Act
  • Illegal to keep, trap or kill wild animals without a licence [42]
  • Fine of $1,000 per animal and them confiscated [42]
Some people think that efforts to enforce the ban efficiently are lacking [42]. Some people think that enforcement agencies can impose stricter penalties and conduct more thorough investigation [42]
Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act
  • Jailed for two years or fined, or both [46]
  • Any person is found to be in possession of or selling illegally imported species listed under CITES can be fined up to S$50,000 per scheduled species (not exceeding a maximum aggregate of S$500,000), up to two years imprisonment, or both [47]
The hefty fines of $50 000 put in place are aimed at being effective in deterring the public from engaging in these practices of the exotic wildlife business.
Singapore is a signatory to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since Nov 1986 [40] [42]

Offenders without a Cites permit can be fined up to $50,000 per specimen (up to $500,000 in total), and/or be jailed for up to two years [42]

The only live animals allowed for sale and possession in Singapore are dogs, cats, small rodents, licensed fish and birds, as well as three species of reptiles and amphibians - red-eared terrapins, green tree frogs and Malayan box turtles - and land hermit crabs [42]

Animals allowed for sale are listed by NParks here

Hints at speciesism where certain animal groups may be seen as not important [45] Strategies for exotic pet enthusiasts to abide by regulations and breed these animals without risk of diseases can be developed to ease the ban on exotic pets [42]

A permit system can be established where exotic pet owners need to pass a course on animal handling and undergo subsequent routine checks conducted by the authorities [42]

  • A negative instead of positive list of what animals are considered to be illegal pets can encourage an expansion of the pet industry and allow people to learn and care for a larger variety of animals [45]
  • A negative list is the norm in countries where big pet industries are, while hurdles and barriers in Singapore stifles the growth of the pet industry [45]
  • Housing and repatriating abandoned exotic pets to countries of origin [42]
  • Raids with AVA [42]
  • AVA lacks resources where it was reported that there were only 3 senior inspectors in 2017 [42].
  • Reported case where AVA officers were not insistent in their checks, allowing illegal turtles to be undiscovered [42].
  • Lack of policing on social media platforms [42]
  • No verification and regulations for online sales [41]
ACRES suggested using sniffer dogs at border checkpoints but AVA preferred current methods like routine or random checks due to their cost-effectiveness [42]
WRS’s Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre (WHRC) at the Singapore Zoo
  • Rehabilitation via a hands-off approach to prevent them getting used to being around humans [47]
  • Health and behavioural assessments as well as microchipping before being released into the wild [47]
  • Collaboration with National Wildlife Centre in Perak, Malaysia in the case of the 2 leopard cats which were sent there for further rehabilitation and release [47]
After the animals were discovered to be kept as illegal pets, they are sent for rehabilitation and in this case, the leopards illegally kept in Singapore then underwent health and behavioral assessments. The leopards were microchipped by WRS and handed over to the government officials in Malaysia.

ACRES crime unit saw over 500 listings selling prohibited wild animals in Singapore.

Studies on how escaped pets might affect native biodiversity by NParks and AVA
  • To decide whether a species should be allowed as pets [42]
Previously banned animals, the green tree frog and the Malayan box turtle, has been allowed as pets [42]
ACRES and NParks Hotlines to tip off illegal pets [47]

Shelter Animals

Low Adoption Rates

Through an analysis of various animal shelters' annual reports, we have found that there is generally low adoption rates and high numbers of animals being rescued over the years. The COVID-19 situation has exacerbated the problem as animal shelters are not allowed to conduct physical adoption drives [48] [49]. There is also paranoia about human-animal transmission of the virus, as well as the financial instability in the public, likely leading to lower tendencies of people adopting animals [48]. However, there has also been an opposite response as safe distancing measures have led to AWGs receiving more fostering and adoption requests, possibly due to working from home and needing companionship [50]. Given how the situation has also affected AWGs' manpower, they face difficulties in processing these requests as new fosterers need training while adoption processes are often stringent [50]. AWGs are also concerned that people may only be willing to foster for short periods of time such as only during the circuit breaker or could be adopting on impulse due to the lifestyle that the current crisis imposes [50].

Project ADORE
  • Permanent scheme since 2014 [51]
  • Supported by Animal Welfare Groups (AWGs) - Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Save our Street Dogs (SOSD), Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Exclusively Mongrels (EM) and Causes for Animals (CAS) [51]
  • HDB flat owners can adopt local mixed breed dogs aka Singapore Specials (up to 15 kg in weight and 50 cm in height - limits are comparable to the size of toy breeds allowed, but since the announcement of a 2-year pilot expansion [8] in 1 March 2020, these restrictions have been relaxed to have no weight criteria and to allow a height of up to 55cm) [51]
  • Only one dog per flat [51]
  • Abide by stringent ownership conditions [51]
    • Sterilisation, routine vaccination and micro-chipping [51]
    • New owners must also apply for a dog licence [51]
    • New owners will have to enrol their dogs for obedience training courses at the point of adoption, and sign a Code of Responsible Behaviour (CORB) which includes requirements to ensure that their dogs do not cause nuisances to the neighbours [51]
  • June 2017: expansion to allow rehoming of retired sniffer dogs in HDB flats under a one-year pilot. Dog handlers from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force K-9 units, and the MWDU are now allowed to rehome retired sniffer dogs in HDB flats [51]
  • August 2018: became permanent scheme and members of the public staying in HDB flats are also allowed to adopt retired sniffer dogs, on a one-year pilot basis [51]
  • Allowable sniffer dog breeds include Labradors, English Springers, Cocker Spaniels and Pointers [51]
  • Residents have been receptive to larger dog breeds in their neighbourhoods if the dog owners behaved responsibly and there were proper channels in place for dispute mediation. The scheme has been well-received thus far [52]
  • MND will review the pilot expansion after one year and assess whether to extend it to other types of service dogs [52]
Military Working Dog Unit Adoption Drive 2019 (15 April to 16 May 2019)
  • Adoption of 13 retired military working dogs [53]
Physical adoption drives CAS: 3 adoptions on average per adoption drive [54]
Virtual adoptions
  • Launched by SPCA on 2 Jun [55]
  • Conducted by Purely Adoptions since start of circuit breaker [55]
  • Typical process [55]:
    • Screening questions
    • Virtual interaction with animal of choice + virtual house tour to AWG
    • AWG brings animal to adopter’s home
    • 2 week homestay
  • AWGs that conducted these plan to continue them post circuit breaker [55].
  • Provide potential adopters with convenience and round the clock availability [55].
  • Purely Adoptions has successfully rehomed 3 puppies and 5 cats with this method [55].
  • Ability to observe animals in their comfort zone and overcomes problem of crowded physical adoption drives, where potential adopters may be overwhelmed and find it difficult to decide [55].
  • Lack of in person interaction with the animal [55].
  • Some AWGs prefer to keep the adoption process physical e.g. SOSD to ensure the quality of adopters [55].
Causes for Animals livestream during COVID-19 Received considerable number of adoption enquiries
NParks’ e-Pets’ Day Out (27 Jun 2020 on AnimalBuzzSG FB page)
  • Cat Welfare Society (CWS), Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS), Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS) and SOSD Singapore to showcase adoptable animals [56]
  • Promotes AWGs’ fundraising efforts [56]
  • Live chat with vet [56]
  • Chances to win limited edition merchandise [56]

Perception of Shelter Animals

Prices for various dog breeds have increased over the years [57]. While purebreeds like Toy Poodles, French Bulldogs and Shiba Inus remain popular, crossbreed “designer” dogs such as Maltipoos (Maltese-Poodle) and Pomskies (Pomeranian-Husky) have also increased in demand, causing prices to be as high as or even higher than that of some purebreds [57]. There are also waitlists and pre-orders for these dogs [57]. According to data by AVS, Singaporeans are also more keen to buy and import from overseas breeders [57].

2015 SOSD research study by The Nielson Company
  • The study surveyed 300 residents in Punggol where there are large numbers of complaints and culling of stray dogs [58]
  • The results show that most residents are aware of stray dogs in their neighbourhood but are not aware of AVA’s work [58]
  • Half of the residents are welcoming of the stray dogs’ presence as long as they are not aggressive [58]
  • The results are promising in terms of perceptions of how stray dogs should be managed, with most preferring rehoming or catching and neutering rather than culling [58]
The study has shown that most Singaporeans care for strays, contrary to popular belief [58]

SOSD hopes that this survey will provide reason for the Ministry of National Development to relax the size restrictions of dogs in HDB flats [58]

44% of the respondents feel that AVA's tackling of the matter is ineffective

The Perfect Voiceovers Campaign
  • Part of Edelman Singapore's Global Day of Understanding Initiative, in partnership with five dog shelters and animal welfare groups (Causes for Animals Singapore, Action for Singapore Dogs, Society for Animal Matters, Chained Dog Awareness and Mutts Rescue) [59]
  • Aims to alter public perceptions of shelter dogs and to promote inclusivity [59]
  • Features the stories of nine people who overcame certain hardships in life, and stories of shelter dogs were presented as parallels [59]
It was described as a sobering experience and it touched the hearts of the nine survivors of assault and cancer

Two of the participants said they had developed better understanding the fear and trauma the abused dog endured

Lack of Resources

Animal shelters in Singapore often lack resources in terms of manpower, funding and space. People hardly want to take on a full-time job with welfare groups because of the hard work and yet low remuneration [60]. In 2018, Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter (OSCAS) only has one full-time employee who earns $13 per hour which is less than her previous job as a nurse that requires a diploma [60]. However, increasing remuneration would be challenging as AWGs often work with tight budgets . Thus, hiring work-permit holders at $600-800 a month would help greatly compared to hiring a local at $1600 a month [61]. Attendant legal employment terms also pose challenges for animal welfare groups in hiring locals [60]. Despite manpower shortages, charity groups like animal welfare groups are not allowed to employ foreign workers [60]. Some AWGs are trying to obtain permits to employ foreign workers [60] [61]. The regulations and manpower quotas have been said to disadvantage non-profit organisations compared to businesses [61]. Many AWGs thus rely heavily on volunteers. This is unfortunately not always a long term, consistent and reliable source of manpower. For example, many student volunteers are sometimes unable to commit during times like exam periods [60]. Youth volunteers may also be discouraged by the hard work since volunteers may be tasked with various roles such as event helper, administrative worker and cleaner [62]. Students may be driven to volunteer to fulfil their Community Involvement Programme (CIP) requirements in school, and may think that the work at animal shelters would be fun due to a lack of understanding [62]. The COVID-19 situation has exacerbated the manpower crunch as volunteering is reduced due to the circuit breaker measures, leading to fewer dogs being walked and a lower bathing frequency for them in some shelters [50].

AWGs are not government funded [63] and rely largely on donations and fund raising activities [64]. Various AWGs such as CWS and Pets Villa faced instances where they almost had to cease operations due to financial issues [64]. This could be due to a lack of support from corporates as animals are not prioritised on a corporate social responsibility key performance indicator over other social causes (animal welfare is underdeveloped as a charity sector) [65]. After the move to The Animal Lodge in 2018, shelters faced higher bills and had to spend on renovating units which added to their financial problems since some shelters did not have to pay rent at previous locations [66].

As shelters often face resource constraints, the cheapest food is usually obtained for the animals [67]. Cheaper food is often less nutritious for the animals [67]. This leads to various diet related illnesses becoming common in long-term shelter dogs [67].

AVA supports AWGs' appeal to hire foreign workers by
  • Writing in to authorities [60]
  • Advising AWGs to engage services of The Animal Lodge's managing agent (Guthrie FMC) or tap foreign workers depending on the "mainstream work pass requirements for the services sector" [61]
The AVA has said that it has taken the Animal Lodge's feedback into consideration such as by redesigning the space for communal kennels, charging rental rates at cost-recovery, waived the rental security deposit, provided a rent free period along with a one off relocation assistance package of $7500 per unit for the groups.

However, not very effective in terms of efficiently sourcing labor because the number of volunteers ( which they rely on heavily) have dropped dramatically due to the

Engaging services of The Animal Lodge's managing agent is not feasible as it would mean having pee and poo cleaned only when the cleaning services come at fixed timings [61]
The Animal Lodge
  • 7000 capacity [61]
  • Many animal welfare groups relocated from various shelters in Pasir Ris, Loyang, Seletar and Lim Chu Kang to the new Animal Lodge at Sungei Tengah in 2018 [60]
  • Aims to alter public perceptions of shelter dogs and to promote inclusivity [59]
  • Features the stories of nine people who overcame certain hardships in life, and stories of shelter dogs were presented as parallels [59]
  • Concentrated area for ease of looking for a pet or certain requirements in a pet e.g. breed or temperament [60]
  • Animal welfare groups have a dedicated space after their land leases expire and do not have to move often [60]
  • However, they are losing volunteers due to isolated area out of reach from where most people in SG stay.
  • Rent is more than what animal shelters used to pay, while the space is less than what they used to have [60]. On top of that, AWGs still have to cover wages, food costs and veterinary bills [60].
  • SPCA now has a larger area including rehabilitation and education centres, thus incurring higher operating costs [65]
  • Bigger dogs suffer from tight, concrete spaces with little sunlight and ventilation [60]
  • Enclosures are more difficult to wash as they are sheltered while the previous location had a more open concept [60]
  • Loss of volunteers e.g. cases where shelters who used to be at Pasir Ris lost volunteers who live in the east. This is due to the inconvenient location which is 1.5km from the nearest bus stop, compared to the 800m walk from the nearest bus stop at the Pasir Ris area [60]. The commute is also considered expensive by some, and there is now a parking fee compared to the free parking previously [60].
  • Loss of manpower from foreign workers supplied by previous landlords e.g. Ericsson Pet Farm and Pet Movers as part of the tenancy arrangements/rental package [61]
  • Rental rates at The Animal Lodge are charged at cost-recovery, the rental security deposit waived, and a rent-free period was provided along with a one-off relocation assistance package of S$7,500 per unit for the groups [61] [66]
  • National Parks Board (NParks) to directly oversee operations at The Animal Lodge, so total rental charges for commercial tenants will decrease by about 15 per cent, while that for non-commercial tenants including animal welfare groups and shelters will decrease by about 30 per cent [66]
Eases financial burdens on animals shelters as they do not have to pay $600 conservancy charges. The total charges for rental charges for commercial tenants will decrease by 15% and for non commercial tenants will decrease by 30% [66]
AVS worked with stakeholders to ensure and maintain working facilities e.g. remove waste that blocked pipes [66] Reduction in monthly service and conservancy charges [66]

Stray/Community Animals

Population Management

The 400 stray dogs on Jurong Island, which have no available food and shelter, posed safety and traffic risks . Thus, they had to be removed [68].

The stray dog population in Singapore totals to around 7000, where most are around construction sites and industrial areas [69]. If stray dogs, especially those in packs, revert to their feral instincts, they may pose danger to the public and they are also a potential reservoir of disease such as rabies [69] [70].

Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage (TNRM) programme
  • Jurong Island pilot project started in 2014 [68]
  • Targeted to conclude within two years but was extended by Jurong Town Corporation [68]
  • Coordinated by ACRES and operationalised by SOSD, Noah's Ark Cares (NAC) and Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD) [68]
  • Alternative to culling [68]
  • Involved capture of dogs to be placed in a shelter area built within the forested areas to cope temporarily before population numbers start dwindling [68]
  • 5 year programme launched in 2018
  • Collaboration between NParks' Animal Veterinary Service (AVS), Animal Welfare Groups (AWGs), veterinarians and other relevant stakeholders [8]
  • Humane and science-based approach that seeks to capture, sterilise and subsequently rehome stray dogs or if impossible, release them at suitable places [8]
  • Stray dog feeders identify and bring dogs to the participating AWGs for management [8]
  • Aims to sterilise over 70% of Singapore's stray dog population [8]
  • AVS supports AWGs' costs throughout the TNRM process [8]
  • Has been successful for the stray cat population in Chong Pang estate [71]
  • Dramatic improvements throughout SG in general as we moved from indiscriminately culling in copious amounts before and labelling them as dirty pests to a now more compassionate society that better respects them as sentient beings whose lives and feelings matter.
  • More coordinated efforts by various rescue groups that have come together
Three-year Stray Dog Study
  • From 2015-2018 [69]
  • Conducted by AVS and a research team comprising of Singaporeans and Australians [69]
  • Aims to estimate the stray dog population size, shed light on their ecology and collect data such as their activity patterns, range size, mortality rates, reproductive rates [69]
  • In conjunction with the above study, National Institute of Education researchers are also studying stray dogs' impact on native biodiversity in nature reserves [69]
Individuals involved were quoted being very enthusiastic to learn and be involved but as for effectiveness of the program, there has been no proven or reported findings or results
Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme (SCSP)
  • Piloted in 2011 [72]
  • Supported by Ministry of National Development (MND) and stakeholders are AVS, National Environment Agency (NEA), Town Councils, Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) [72]
  • Includes all Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates, private residential, commercial, and industrial areas [72]
  • Aims to manage Singapore's stray cat population and reduce nuisance issues like caterwauling [72]
  • AVS subsidises 50% of sterilisation costs for each cat (up to $30 for a male cat, up to $60 for a female cate and $20 for microchipping) [72]

Irresponsible Feeding

[to be inserted]

Handbook on Feeding Stray Dogs Responsibly
  • Ground-up initiative from AWGs, supported and published by AVS [73] [74]
  • Aims to promote awareness on feeding stray dogs responsibly and to take into account public health considerations to foster human-animal coexistence [73]
In June 2017, Project ADORE expanded to allow for rehoming of retired sniffer dogs by existing and recent K9 officers in HDB flats under a one year pilot.

The scheme was well received and made permanent. It also expanded and allowed the public to adopt retired sniffer dogs, widening the pool of potential adopters for retired sniffer dogs beyond K9 officers and has extended for another 2 years.

Wild Animals

Funding in Biodiversity Research

Wildlife Reserves Singapore
  • Provides funding for projects related to research and conservation of Singapore’s endangered native wildlife.
  • Current research is limited by the amount of funding it receives. Understanding our biodiversity better can better equip us to co-exist with it.
Increase funding for wildlife research projects.

Increase sources of funding for wildlife research projects e.g NParks, NEA.

Protection of Biodiversity

ACRES estimates that in 20% of call cases about snakes, the animal is found to have been abused [75]. There was a paradise tree snake found taped to the office’s carpet, and there was a dead spitting cobra due to having cardboard boxes stacked on it [75]. Such cases are likely to be due to fear and a lack of wildlife etiquette [75].

Other than individuals mishandling animals, there have also been cases of personnel from pest control companies mishandling snakes.  

One such case happened in January 2019 outside Tang Plaza, where a python was stepped on by a pest control personnel who was later bitten [76] [77]. Another case was in March 2019 where a pest control personnel stepped on and threw a python in an alleged training exercise [78]. Such mishandling is not only unnecessary and harmful to the animal, but also endangers the safety of the handler and the people around.

NParks' snake guidelines [79] [80]
Animals and Birds Act
  • Any person who cruelly beats, kicks, ill-treats, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures, infuriates or terrifies any animal is guilty of an offence.
  • Although in theory a python or a monitor lizard is afforded the same level of legal protection as an otter or a pangolin, in practice, many wild reptiles are treated as pests and are not handled properly. For example, snake removal is often done by pest control operators. Pest control is not usually trained to handle these wild animals and they often end up harming the animal or themselves.
Provide proper training, certification and follow-up for pest control operators to make sure they are up-to-date and are adhering to proper standards when they handle these animals.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore
  • WRS gives talks about Singapore’s biodiversity, its significance to our heritage and the importance of conservation.
  • Still, the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans consider these animals to be dangerous pests. However, the truth is that reptiles are part of our native biodiversity that provide a wide range of ecosystem services (e.g. Pythons are what help to keep invasive rat populations at bay).
The Singaporean education system should include a) The importance of preserving and coexisting with native biodiversity and b) curriculum teaching kids to value and respect biodiversity regardless of visual appeal. In other words, even if somebody thinks snakes and monitor lizards are scary and disgusting, they should be able to appreciate the importance of living together with these animals.


[to be extracted from biodiversity]


[to be inserted]

Feeding of Wildlife

[root cause of next three issues - link] Leftovers from feeding pigeons can potentially attract pests like rats which may carry disease and pose public health risks [81]. With the pigeon issue, Singapores’ measures have not been focusing on the root cause of food availability to the pigeons but instead on pigeon overpopulation and nuisance [81]. It is difficult to catch pigeon feeders in the act although leftovers from pigeon feeding may be seen, and some may not know what to do even if they do come across pigeon feeders [81]. Pigeon feeders feed out of good intentions and may not know about the harm that they cause [81] [changemACRES survey as part of Behaviour Change Hackathon 2019]. Pigeon feeders also experience happiness and joy when feeding while non feeders are more neutral [changemACRES survey as part of Behaviour Change Hackathon 2019]. Interestingly, feeders are more aware of the laws and regulations around pigeon feeding than non feeders [changemACRES survey as part of Behaviour Change Hackathon 2019].

Enforcement notices
Posters, outreach events

AVA has installed around 100 cameras since 2016 [81]

The cameras function to deter pigeon feeders, where AVA will collaborate with Town Councils to appeal for information from the public if as evidence of alleged feeders are recorded [81]
Studies by AVA

AVA conducts analyses of surveillance and feedback data [81]

This is to inform science-based management approaches and education initiatives on the right behaviour towards animals [81]
Campaign by Ang Mo Kio Town Council and government agencies in the Yio Chu Kang area
  • Grassroots leaders went door-to-door to explain why people should not feed pigeons or drop litter [82]
  • Cameras were installed at hotspots where pigeons gathered in a pilot from May to October 2018 [82]

Posters and banners were used to explain how the proliferation of pigeons posed health hazards [82]

The Municipal Services Office reported that monthly complaints regarding high-rise littering the pigeon feeding has fallen from 7 to 2 [82]
Initiatives by Marine Parade Town Council
  • Netting at hawker centres were installed to prevent pigeons from accessing food while spikes on pipes and ledges were installed to prevent them from roosting [82]
  • Marine Parade Town Council worked with the Hawker Association and NTUC Foodfare to make sure that hawker centre tables are cleared quickly [82]

Animals and Birds Act

Feeding pigeons is illegal, with a fine of up to $500 [81][83] [37]

Wildlife Act (amendment of the above Animals and Birds Act in 2020)

Feeding pigeons is illegal, with a S$5,000 penalty for first-time offenders, and S$10,000  for second-time offenders [37]

Animals and Birds Act
  • As of November 2015, the AVA has caught 113 bird feeders in the year, including 13 who did so outside the mosque [82].
  • From 2017 to 2019, 682 summons were issued for pigeon feeding offences [37].
  • 5 of the people penalised in 2016 were repeat offenders. In 2017, 8 were recalcitrant out of the 218 who were penalised. As of Mar 2018, 93 people had been penalised in the year, where one was a repeat offender [81].

Wildlife Act

This will potentially deter feeders of pigeons and other wildlife more effectively and reduce the need for culling [37].

Pigeon Overpopulation

Pigeon overpopulation is largely due to the availability of food, either due to direct feeding or indirectly due to improper waste management [81] [84].

Pigeon and bird related feedback has been increasing from 2013 to 2017 [81] [83]. There are certain hotspots where pigeons have proliferated such as in the vicinity of Masjid Haji Muhammad Salleh [83]. While there have always been pigeons around the area, the problem has worsened over the last 10 years before 2015 [83]. In 2015, the field outside the mosque had an estimate of 400 pigeons, which was twice as many as two years ago [83]. The pigeons fly into the mosque compounds, making them a nuisance to the staff and those who go to the mosque to pray [83]. Their droppings dirty the floor and they congregate at the food areas as well [83]. Other than these nuisances, pigeons may also spread diseases to humans via contact with diseased or dead birds and through contaminated droppings [81].

  • Pigeons are poisoned by pest controllers or Town Councils [85]
  • Town Councils are equipped with pigeon control operation guidelines [84]
AVS had been alerted because of a report from ACRES and this shows that the necessary awareness of animal cruelty can be well transmitted because of such responsible rescue groups on the lookout

ACRES was able to receive about 6 pigeons

A report on animal cruelty case investigating how these birds were handled in Hougang will be made

Not enough concrete evidence( charts, stats etc) by ACRES or/and AVS that demonstrate bird cruelty decreasing in SG or at least any evidence through
Birth Control Method (Nicarbazin) Trial
  • Conducted during Oct 2015 - Oct 2016, at a field outside the mosque in Palmer Road, near Shenton Way [83]
  • Around five mosque volunteers will be in charge of feeding the laced feed to the pigeons [83]
  • The drug prevents birds from producing eggs or causes them to lay eggs that do not hatch [83]

Drug does not harm the birds and it is not toxic to animals or humans unless taken in large amounts (40kg of the feed to see toxic effects in dogs and cats, and 60kg for a child) [83]

It is expected that it will take a year to show results but success has been reported in Italy where such measures has reduced the pigeon population by 30-40% over 4 years [83] This is unsustainable as it requires the long term feeding of birds and manpower to do so [81]

Human-Macaque Conflicts

There have been various reports on long-tailed macaques going into homes, taking food and biting humans [86]. Some macaque hotspots are residential areas that are near the forested areas of Bukit Timah, MacRitchie and Upper Thomson [87]. The public lack awareness about monkey behaviour and this may lead to inappropriate behaviours around monkeys such as making eye contact that may provoke aggression [88]. Monkeys are also attracted to residential areas when there is not proper garbage disposal or when residents leave food out in the open [88].

Providing food to macaques would change their natural behaviours and lead to a reliance on human food where they may enter residential areas [89]. People may feed wildlife out of a love for animals and a desire to help them [89]. Due to habitat fragmentation, monkeys are also increasingly entering residential areas as a means to reach another habitat [89]. The number of macaque sighting calls that ACRES received increased from 244 in 2018 to 278 in the period from January to November 2019 [89].

In 2013, around 570 monkeys were culled, removing almost a third of the total population which is estimated to be around 1800 monkeys [88]. Monkey feeding incidents have been reduced from over 100 in 2016 to less than 30 in 2019 [87].

Monkey herding
  • Trained personnel to deter monkeys from residential areas [88]
  • ACRES proposed this in 2014 as an alternative to culling, and conducted 2 trials in Bukit Timah and Bukit Batok [88]
  • The frequency of monkeys going into residential areas was reduced [88]
  • There were 520 incidents of monkey related feedback during the first 10 months of 2014, while there were 1860 throughout 2013 [88]
  • There has been a decrease in numbers of monkeys culled, with about 150 monkeys in 2014 [88]
  • Residents and guards have the opportunity to see that monkeys are not unnecessarily aggressive, and guards can also educate residents on their interactions with the monkeys [88]
  • Costly and labour intensive. There was only 1 monkey guard for both trials and thus more manpower and funding are needed to expand the initiative [88]
  • This may not address root causes of monkeys venturing into residential areas in the first place, such as gaining access to human food [88]
Monkey guarding
  • Residents, security guards and volunteers were trained as monkey guards for Dairy Farm Estate condominium at Upper Bukit Timah in 2018 [90]
JGIS 3 year No Feeding Campaign
  • Launched by JGIS in partnership with the Long-tailed Macaque Working Group at the first Human-wildlife Co-existence in Asia: Conflicts and Mitigations Conference 2019 [87] [89]
  • To educate people around macaque hotspots to not feed monkeys, through increased outreach and education activities, and an expansion of the monkey guarding programme [87] [89]
One of the residents found that the effectiveness was only "half half"

Another one of the residents found that its "pretty hopeful" but needs "longer commitment"

No concrete proven evidence of effectiveness of changing behavior of public

3 year study on the behaviour, movement, diet and health of the long-tailed macaques by NParks and NUS [87]
JGIS talks at condos [87]
NParks’ initiatives
  • Outreach programmes, distributing advisory pamphlets and putting up signs in nature reserves and parks [87]
Incidents of people feeding monkeys have fallen from more than 100 in 2016 to fewer than 30 so far this year.
Interdisciplinary panel set up in 2017
  • Experts from NParks, AVA, NUS, Holland-Bukit Panjang Town Council and interest groups e.g. JGIS [86]
  • To allow discussions on human-macaque conflicts, to develop solutions and a standard operating procedure (SOP) [86]
  • To develop pre-emptive measures e.g. public education such as talks in schools or affected residential areas [86]
There will not be different solutions developed by different organizations, thus preventing public confusion and conflicting solutions [86]

The session aims at teaching the public on how to interpret the facial expressions of macaques to better react with them and this will hopefully minimize fatal accidents between humans and macaques although it is not proven to have been effective yet.

Human-Wild Boar Conflicts

In 2017, there were various wild boar related incidents such as a man being attacked [86].

NParks’ feasibility study of measures e.g. wildlife crossing signs, barriers to prevent wildlife from accessing roads [86]
Removal of oil palm from hotspots by NParks
  • Wild boars favour oil palm [86]
  • Prevents crowding at hotspots and encourages migration to other areas [86]
NParks’ efforts to discourage feeding of wild boars
  • Signs to educate people to maintain a distance [91]
  • Wildlife crossing signs along hotspots at nature reserves [92]
Signage has also been installed along roads abutting hot spots at the nature reserves to alert motorists to look out for wildlife crossing which will hopefully encourage visitors to be more careful of wildboars.

Animal Care/Health

Expectations of the Veterinary Profession


In 2019, Ohana VetCare suspended two nurses for their inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour around the animals in the clinic [93].

Convenience Euthanasia

There has been cases of euthanasia of healthy animals in vet clinics that have been deemed unnecessary by the public. In 2013, a healthy pupped named Tammy was put down by her owner at a vet clinic due to aggression and biting of family members [94]. In this case, there was a breach of contract between the owner of Tammy who put her down and the lady she had adopted Tammy from [94].

In 2020, a puppy named Loki was put down by his owners at a vet clinic as they recently had a child and was afraid that Loki would bite [95] [96]. Loki was adopted from the AWG, Exclusively Mongrels, and while the adoption agreement states that owners should return adopted dogs back to Exclusively Mongrels in the case where adopters can no longer care for them, this was not done [96]. Loki’s owners reported the whistleblower who first wrote about the incident on Facebook for doxxing [95].

Current regulations and laws permit convenience euthanasia even though acts of animal cruelty are not tolerated [94]. The phrasing of rules for convenience euthanasia lack clarity and could be interpreted differently [94].

Impose a one-week waiting time before euthanasia such that the animal has a chance of being rehomed [94]

Limitations of Conventional Vet Care

Conventional vet care often treats the symptoms rather than determining and solving the root causes of pets’ problems [97]. There are cases where prescribing medication can provide immediate relief but because the root cause is not solved, the symptoms may reappear with greater intensity [97]. Some vaccinations and medications suggested by vets can be harmful [97]. Vets’ advice are merely one piece of the puzzle, and there are other alternative treatments that can be considered [97]. Alternative pet care is about nurturing health rather than treating illnesses [97]. Naturopathic health is a natural approach that is gaining in popularity [97]. It includes the use of herbs, acupuncture, a raw diet and lifestyle adjustments [97]. Naturopathic and homeopathic health care activates the body’s immune system and prevents disease through proper diet and lifestyle [97].

Naturopathic and homeopathic health care
  • Natural approach that is gaining in popularity [97]
  • Includes the use of herbs, acupuncture, a raw diet and lifestyle adjustments [97]
  • Activates the body’s immune system and prevents disease through proper diet and lifestyle [97]
Possible lack of scientific evidence
Holistic Pet Care
  • Takes into account both physical and emotional well-being [98]
  • Avoids use of immunisations, vaccinations, non-natural medicines [98]
  • Aspects include diet, physical care, mental stimulation and emotional care and environmental care [98]
  • Preventive but natural method [98]
  • Cost savings in the long run as diseases can be prevented [98]

Ensuring Proper Nutrition for Pets

Pet owners may face marketing claims and inaccurate information about pet nutrition, as well as be influenced by human health trends in their pet food purchasing decisions [99].

This could have led to the rise of organic pet food brands. Organic pet food brands are expensive and have debatable advantages [100]. Yet, some pet owners and animal welfare groups are willing to spend on them [100]. Sales of organic brands have increased over the years, with customers finding them effective [100]. However, vets have suggested that most regular pet food are sufficient to cater to pets’ nutritional needs, and that how well pets do on which type of food could depend on individual sensitivities [100].

Another article that compares conventional vet care to holistic pet care provides a possible reason behind such suggestions by vets. The article mentions that animal nutrition taught to vet students are from pet food companies, which may not be entirely true [97]. This leads to vets recommending processed foods to clients, instead of sharing about good nutrition and alternative treatments [97]. While vets may not have ill intentions, their suggestions are influential to clients. A study showed that information from vets and the internet were important sources of pet nutrition information for large proportions of dog and cat owners surveyed in the United States [99]. In Singapore, the internet is likely to play a significant role as well, since pet owners also discuss pet food issues on forums such as this particular thread.

Thus, ensuring that pets receive proper nutrition is challenging because there is a need to understand consumer behaviour in purchasing pet food [99]. Vets need to consider factors that affect their clients’ decisions before providing nutritional suggestions to them [99].

There can also be cases where there is a lack of consensus on certain issues. In an FDA report released in 2019, there was a possible link between grain-free dry dog food and the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease that can lead to heart failure [101]. There was an increase in the number of breeds that are not known to have a genetic predisposition to DCM, and most dogs with DCM were on grain-free dry dog foods [101]. While there is no scientific evidence to confirm this link, vets in Singapore believe that there are other factors in the development of DCM and the FDA is trying to understand the role of taurine, an amino acid believed to promote heart health [101]. Vets in Singapore also said that "a balanced diet must include fresh meat, fruits and vegetables" and that nutritional deficiencies can also lead to DCM [101]. One solution is for dog owners to switch brands, go for regular check ups and look out for signs of DCM [101]. Another vet mentions that the development of DCM depends on lifestyle, where active lifestyles would downplay the role of diet as a factor [101].

Positive Human-Animal Interactions

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)

[Categorization required:Where should these be? This can be something that is listed somewhere on the animal pages, but possibly it is better on mental health page, and cross-linked here?]

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment . It falls under the realm of Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI). AAT may differ in terms of the animals introduced, the reason for therapy, or the targeted audience. In a literature review done in 2000, researchers found that several types of animals such as horses, dogs, and cats have been used for AAT in clinical trials although the most commonly used types of AAT are canine-assisted therapy and equine-assisted therapy.

The goal of AAT is generally to improve a patient's social, emotional, or cognitive functioning and research has found that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness for participants. There are various studies documenting the positive effects of AAT reported through subjective self-rating scales and objective physiological measures, such as blood pressure, hormone levels, etc.

Canine-assisted Therapy

Canine-assisted therapy has been attempted in various contexts, for various populations. Here are some examples of activities used for canine-assisted therapy, and how they benefit the target population.

Activity Target 


Feeding dog a treat using a pair of tongs Individuals with Dementia/ Cognitive impairments Improves perception, concentration, and provide sensory stimulation for patients with cognitive impairment
Motor skills tasks modeled by dog Preschool Children Completed task faster when modeled by a canine than by the handler
Dog walking General Gives purpose to a walking programme - motivation for adherence
Activity of daily living e.g. feeding, grooming the dog teeth Older adults with dementia/ cognitive impairments Improves physical, behavioural, and emotional function
Reading to dogs Children Improved reading performance
Communication, establish rapport with dog Individuals with Schizophrenia Improve social functioning
Cases in Singapore
  1. Therapy Dogs Singapore
    • Non-profit voluntary welfare organization established in 2004 to share the unconditional love and affection of canine companions with society’s disadvantaged through Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT), which aims to meet physical, as well as socio-emotional needs [102]
    • Conducts regular Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) sessions to its seven adopted homes (AWWA, Bishan Home for Intellectually Disabled, Bethany Nursing Home Choa Chu Kang, IMH, MINDS, SWAMI, Assisi Hospice), in addition to ad hoc visits [102]
    • Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programmes, which involves physiotherapy and occupational therapy goals for select individuals, are also carried out as often as deemed possible [102]
    • Therapy dogs are privately owned
  2. HOPE Dog Rescue
    • Assisi Hospice visited by Button (Hokkien therapy dog) [103]
    • Monthly visits to St Joseph's Home since 2018 [104] by volunteers’ and rescued dogs, including special needs dogs [105] [106]
    • Therapy dogs are either privately owned by volunteers or rescued dogs [106]
  3. SOSD's Healing Paws
    • Established in 2014 to provide comfort and warmth to persons in need via Animal-Assisted-Activities (AAA) [107]
    • Owners and their dogs volunteer their time in institutions such as children’s homes, elderly homes, and hospices, providing companionship, motivation, and recreation [107]
    • Programme partners: Assisi Hospice, Ren Ci, Lions Home for the Elders, Ang Mo Kio Thye Hwa Kwan Hospital, Kheng Chiu Loke Tin Kee Home [107]
    • Therapy dogs are privately owned
  4. Pawsibility
    • Counselling practice established in 2013 [108]
    • Conducts programmes with various schools, agencies and other voluntary welfare organizations [108]
    • Support and advise on various animal-assisted activity programmes, such as SOSD’s Healing Paws, as part of Corporate Social Responsibility efforts [108]
  5. Dover Park Hospice’s Ruby Volunteer Group
    • Pet-lovers who bring their beloved companions to interact with patients under the Pets-Assisted Therapy (PAT) Programme [109]
Cases Abroad
  1. San Francisco SPCA’s Animal Assisted Interactions Programmes
    • About 300 volunteer Animal Assisted Interactions (AAI) teams visit locations throughout San Francisco [110]
    • Animals are privately owned [110]
    • Puppy Dog Tales Reading (PDT) Program started in 2007 to promote literacy and a love of reading in at-risk youth populations [111]
    • San Francisco Airport’s Wag Brigade
      • Partnership between San Francisco SPCA and San Francisco International Airport [112]
      • Programme launched in 2013 to bring trained dogs and a pig [112] to the terminals to improve the experience of passenger travel [113]
      • Animals certified through their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program to go around the terminals [113]
  2. Shelter dog rehomed with Alzheimer’s patients in Province of Bologna (Piva et al., 2008)
    • Study investigating if a shelter dog could be rehomed successfully into a facility for people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) [114]
    • Assessed effect on animal welfare of this form of pet ownership and of individual sessions of animal assisted activity (AAA) with some pre-selected patients [114]
    • Dog’s welfare was monitored during the first 6 months of adoption by integrating various measures (indirect assessment with direct observations of behavioural and clinical responses, assay of hormonal changes) [114]
    • Findings suggest a progressive positive integration into the new environment and a gradual reduction of the dog’s stress during AAA sessions [114]

Pet Cafes

[to be inserted]

Volunteering with Relevant Organisations

[to be inserted]

Community Feeding

[to be inserted][link to irresponsible feeding]

Resource Directory

Government Agencies

NParks Animal & Veterinary Service

Animal Welfare Groups


SPCA: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Singapore)

Animal Lovers League

Causes for Animals Singapore

Keep Caring for Animals in The Society (KEEP C.A.T.S.)

A non-profit organisation that conducts sterilisation of stray cats and dogs, and undertakes rehoming efforts.

Agency for Animal Welfare

MdM Wong's Shelter and Friends

Society for Animal Matters

Animal Human Alliance

Agency for Animal Welfare

A non-profit organisation seeking to improve companion animal welfare through community engagement.


Adopt a Dog

A non-profit non-affliated website which consolidates all dogs for adoption in Singapore for ease of viewing and searching.

Action For Singapore Dogs

Voices For Animals

Rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes retired breeding dogs.

Save Our Street Dogs

Hope Dog Rescue

Gentle Paws

(OSCAS) Oasis Second Chance Animal Shelter

BFF Rescue Dogs


Cat Welfare Society

Sterilisation and Adoption

Other Companion Animals

House Rabbit Society Singapore

Hamster Society Singapore

Wildlife Management

ACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore)


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