When you’re leaving your pet for an extended period of time, the first place you’d want to drop your furkid is at a pet boarding facility. You’d expect that these professional facilities would feed, shower and take care of your beloved pet to their best of abilities before collecting your furbaby when you return.
Yet just over a year ago, we’ve seen that this hasn’t always been the case as seen with the flash raids done by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) on one pet boarding service, Platinum Dogs Club. The boarding house was found to have endangered the welfare of the animals during their stay in the facility. Most of the animals were safely returned to their owners but a Shetland sheepdog named Prince, unfortunately, didn’t make through the entire ordeal.
As pet owners, you’d want only the best for your beloved fur companion. Uncover the ways you can avoid potential harm done to your pet.
Pet Boarding And Its Murky Grey Areas
Unfortunately, pet boarding has always been a grey area. On top of being too big of an industry to regulate, in accordance with AVA’s rules and regulations, pet boarders don’t need to have a license to operate. Those that do need licenses to operate are commercial pet farms and they not only have to comply with the rules and regulations that are set by AVA, but to also avail themselves to regular spot checks.
This means that unless there have been complaints by its patrons, these pet boarding facilities will often go under the radar when it comes to pet care.
Laws That Protect The Animals’ Welfare
Our laws have fortunately evolved in recent years to include animal protection, reflecting Singapore’s growing desire to safeguard the animal’s welfare and the growth in animal welfare groups.
In 2014, the Animal and Birds Act was amended to impose an even harsher penalty for animal abusers. Businesses that were found to have abused animals in any form or manner are subjected to a maximum of $40,000 fine and/or jailed for 2 years. As opposed to the $10,000 and/or 1 year jail term, this is a significant improvement.
Whilst this amendment is a great step towards the right direction, more still needs to be done. The policy alludes to intervention, rather than an absolute deterrence. To ensure that these laws are enforced, authorities will need to have enough bandwidth and manpower to respond to all the cases of alleged animal mistreatment. SPCA alone receives an average of 80 to 90 reports of suspected animal cruelty every month, and unfortunately, enforcement on that scale just doesn’t seem feasible.
One viable approach is to employ the help of auxiliary police that are already working to safeguard life and the property of persons in Singapore. It would also be best to engage with animal welfare groups, vesting them with the power to legally bring animal offenders to justice just like those in Australia and New Zealand.
Whilst this is something that hopefully can be introduced and implemented in the near future, we will need to do what we can to actively build a Singapore that is kinder and safe to animals in the meantime.
What You Can Do
As a pet owner, you can start by ensuring that the pet boarding facilities are equipped to care for your pet. Don’t just trust the rankings or reviews on Google – Platinum Dogs Club was ranked highly on Google – and head down to the facility itself to see whether it is equipped to care for your precious furkid. Ask the boarding house a list of questions, from its routine, how frequently the facilities are cleaned, their veterinary procedure, amongst many other things.
If you are passionate about animals but don’t wish to own an animal, you can do your part by volunteering in these animal shelters as they often lack the manpower. If you’re a prospective pet owner, consider pet adoption! Safeguarding animal welfare is a considerably big issue to tackle but let’s strive for a better place for our animal friends.