Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pet shops, farms still not up to standard: SPCA,-farms-still-not-up-to-standard--SPCA

Pet shops, farms still not up to standard: SPCA
SINGAPORE - While the general hygiene and conditions of the animals have improved, other prevalent issues such as mandatory licensing and providing correct and proper pet care advice are still seriously lacking in pet shops and farms, according to a survey by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The SPCA recently completed another undercover survey in a follow-up to the "Stop the Cruelty in Puppy Mills" campaign that was launched in October 2010.

The two-month survey was conducted sometime between August and October, with the SPCA visiting 49 pet shops and farms which sold dogs.

The survey also found that there has been no improvement in the application of dog licenses since the second undercover survey in November last year.

Seventy-seven per cent (14 out of 20 pet shops and 13 out of 15 pet farms) of the establishments would not help with licensing, breaching the Pet Shop Licence Conditions that states "when a dog is sold, the shop must apply for the dog licence for the buyer and lodge the microchip number of the dog with AVA", said the SPCA.

Nine out of 10 farms selling large breeds or non-approved HDB breeds also misinformed consumers to buy the animal without informing the authorities.

They also told customers that they could license the animal under another address, or keep the animal at home without attracting attention from the neighbours.

In addition, the SPCA said no pet advice was volunteered by the majority of pet farms and pet shops to prospective buyers. Most of the pet shops did not display any pet care information or give out any pet care leaflets, even when questioned extensively about pet care.

"There was also no emphasis on responsible ownership as buyers were widely recommended and encouraged to cage the animals for toilet training or confine them in small spaces for long periods - from half a day to 22 hours for three weeks to three months duration," said the SPCA.

Other improper suggestions included "minimise taking the puppy out", "try not to take the puppy out of the cage as it is too young", "let it stay in the cage till you are back from work", and "the puppy must be caged until its vaccination".

Almost all (98 per cent) would not provide details or allow the viewing of puppies' parents while only 34 per cent of shops and farms displayed their grading.

Ms Corinne Fong, Executive Director of the SPCA, said: "Two years on and the extent of improvements and progress is dismal. Compliance of the law such as mandatory licensing at point of purchase remains a nagging issue and requires immediate addressing."

"It is disheartening to hear the misinformation offered to potential buyers by the pet shop attendants despite structured training in pet animal management and welfare made compulsory for the pet retail industry."

"There is great urgency for better enforcement from the authorities and greater effectiveness from the pet shop association in upholding ethics and standards in its industry," said Cat Welfare Society president Veron Lau. CHANNEL NEWSASIA