Sunday, May 4, 2014


I refer to the online forum letter (“Stray dogs and rats around MRT station“; Friday, 28 March).  I disagree with the writer, Mr Tang Lian Tong about the stray dogs behind Bukit Batok MRT  station that are posing potential nuisance and health threats to the public.

First of all, these stray dogs are most likely being fed by kind-hearted caregivers who are caring for these strays. I am appalled that the writer chose to classify dogs and rats as potential threats which I feel is a misconception.

These stray dogs are companion animals where if given the proper channels and coupled with the right training for them to be re-homed and domesticated. Rats on the other hand are known as pests and rodents who are carriers of diseases and illness, this I agree that the town council can get rid of them. Being under two different classifications, why deem all of them as threats to the community at large?

Occasionally, there are reports that the town council or Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are trapping these strays and there are a lot of outpouring of finger pointing and anger. Animal Welfare Organisations (AWGs) are already aware of this situation and humane measures such as a trap and neuter program can help control the population through sterilisation. Their barking and howling can be controlled by sterilisation to stop them from going into heat and getting into fights. Their urine and droppings are on land that is not shared by the community and I do not think that they pose a public health risk if left alone and people do not provoke them.

No doubt that innocent lives are at stake, but once a complaint is filed, these strays will get rounded up. AWGs need to be more persistent and determined to act and once they go on the ground to save these strays before the authorities do so, they need to identify and trap all the strays within the area which will take time and manpower. It is essential for such projects to be successful to show the public that strays are not dangerous or a threat.

Is it too hard to tolerate and co-exist with these companion animals that have been abandoned or are homeless? I have been to countries overseas and people take it upon themselves to feed and care for such animals. Most households grow fond of them and adopt them as pets. Majority of these strays are dogs and they make equally good pets.

By reporting the case to the authorities, this is denying them a home even behind fences in the case of Bukit Batok and many other areas. I have observed that these strays hardly interact with the public and the writer of the complaint is just unable to tolerate them or is just plain selfish. The answer is to leave them alone.

I hope that the writer understands that there are alternate humane solutions to deal with the situation. With an open and compassionate heart, we can educate others that culling is not the right answer as these animals deserve a second chance. Strays are just animals that are the subject of abandonment, neglect or abuse. They are misunderstood due to society’s mentality that they cannot make good pets or be re-homed. This misconception needs to be clarified and I believe that AWGs can better pool their resources together and monitor these areas.

Darren Chan Keng Leong