AVS seeks public comment before finalizing stricter rules for dog breeders and pet boarders

  • Authorities are seeking public opinion on a new set of licensing conditions for pet breeders and boarders.
  • Some of the changes are aimed at improving the welfare of breeding dogs.
  • For pet boarders, rules will extend to facilities located on commercial properties
  • The regulations are expected to come into effect in the second quarter of 2022.

SINGAPORE — By the middle of next year, dog breeders and pet boarders could face tougher regulations, with authorities rolling out new licensing rules.

The Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) is beginning a second round of public consultations to gather feedback before finalizing the rules, following a review aimed at raising animal health and welfare standards that began in August 2019.

It announced during a virtual press conference on Thursday (July 1) that it aims to finalize the licensing conditions in the fourth quarter of this year and for them to come into effect during the second quarter of next year.

Some of the proposed changes relate to regular animal health checks, rigorous record keeping and improving the welfare of breeding dogs.

For example, inbreeding of dogs will be prohibited and all breeding dogs over six years old will have to be retired and sterilized within six months of retirement.

Breeders should also provide opportunities for social interaction and enrichment to their animals, such as interaction-based activities at least once a day.

They must maintain complete records of animal movements, veterinary treatments and health of all breeding dogs and litters.

Breeding of dogs with known harmful hereditary conditions will not be permitted.

For pet boarders, a specific set of licensing conditions will extend to boarding facilities located on commercial properties and to a wider range of animals such as cats and other small mammals. Workers who manage the facilities must also undergo training.

Under the revised licensing conditions, daily health checks will be required for boarded animals.

Boarding animals without a license or suffering from communicable diseases will be prohibited.

PET INDUSTRY REVIEW

The review of the pet sector came after notable incidents at boarding kennels in 2019.

In January of the same year, a Shetland sheepdog died while boarded at Platinium Dogs Club.

In April that year, a Maltese man died in a swimming accident in Sentosa while in the care of Board N’ Play, a boarding company.

AVS said its engagement with key stakeholders in the pet sector showed there were concerns about the varying standards of pet breeders and boarders.

She then conducted a series of public consultations and held discussions with stakeholders, including veterinarians, animal welfare groups, dog trainers, breeders and boarders.

The revisions to the licensing conditions draw on standards from other countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, he adds.

Currently, breeding at home, particularly for the purpose of selling the animals, is not permitted.

The specific cross-border commuter regulations, which currently only apply to cross-border commuters operating on agricultural land, will also apply to those operating in licensed business premises under the new set of rules.

AVS estimates that about 50 commercial pet boarders will need to be licensed when the new regulations are established.

However, certain breeding and boarding activities carried out on a small scale or on a personal and non-commercial basis will not be subject to the authorization conditions.

For example, they will not apply to a person who helps raise a small number of animals on a personal, infrequent basis for family and friends, without any advertising.

“Pet breeding and boarding establishments will be subject to licensing based on the scale of their operations, which depends on factors such as the number of animals handled and frequency of transactions,” said the AVS.

During the virtual conference, Mr Tan Kiat How, Minister of State for National Development, said: “With the number of pet owners in Singapore increasing, I am sure that members of the public will be wanting to have a say in how their pets are raised and boarded. »

“I encourage the public to share their views with us via the online consultation.”

WHAT ANIMAL WELFARE DEFENDERS SAY

Dr Jaipal Singh Gill, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), welcomed the rise in standards but warned that some aspects of licensing conditions could be more difficult to monitor.

“For the breeding industry, the (licensing) conditions state that the breeder must provide social interaction and enrichment, but this is very difficult to control and enforce… as they operate largely behind closed doors,” he said.

Dr Gill also said he was concerned about people who raise animals at home and put them up for sale.

“We would certainly like the new regulations to close this loophole, so that those breeding for profit cannot charge a commercial rate and call it an adoption fee. »

Echoing his sentiments, Ms. Anbarasi Boopal, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said: “If unlicensed small breeders are not covered under the licensing system, breeding backyard and online sales – and the resulting abandonment and lack of social welfare will continue to remain a problem in Singapore.

“The areas listed in the proposed standards for approved breeders constitute basic animal welfare requirements and should be applied to all breeders, whether small-scale or not,” she added .

Once the new standards are finalized, breeding and boarding businesses will have six months to make necessary adjustments before the full conditions are applied.

The public consultation will take place until July 31. Citizens wishing to share their point of view can do so on the AVS website at the following address: https://go.gov.sg/bnb.


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