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The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) proposed a revision of the approval standards for pet breeding and keeping in Singapore on July 1st.
The pet breeding and keeping sectors are part of the first phase of the pet sector review in August 2019 after it was found that a kennel operator Platinium Dog Club is abusing dogs.
AVS said these proposed revisions were referenced to foreign standards such as the UK. They had also solicited opinions from local industry and public stakeholders.
Another round of public consultation is now open until July 31st before the revision is confirmed.
Revisions for the breeding industry
The breeding sector in Singapore consists of 20 licensed breeders on farmland in Sungei Tengah, according to AVS, a cluster of the National Parks Board (NParks).
In order to raise animal health and welfare standards and raise breeders accountability in Singapore, AVS has identified a few key areas for revision, as follows:
Health and wellbeing
Dog breeders are instructed to carry out daily and annual health checks for breeding dogs and their litters.
All signs of pain, suffering, injury, illness or abnormal behavior from any dog must be recorded. It is also mandatory for breeders to consult a veterinarian if these abnormalities are observed.
Some symptoms that require immediate veterinary attention include difficulty breathing, severe vomiting and diarrhea, bleeding, and sudden lameness.
AVS will also explicitly list the core vaccinations against common infectious dog diseases that must be given to the animals.
In addition, daily cleaning and disinfection of the kennels is mandatory.
Traceability and records
Breeders are required to keep strict records of the dogs they care for.
They must document evidence of vaccinations, annual health checks, veterinary treatments, and other surgical procedures for the animals they care for. Additional information on breeding mothers or during the litter time must also be recorded.
If dogs looked after by you are moved from the yard to other rooms, these movements must also be recorded.
These records must be kept for at least two years and presented on request for AVS audits.
Welfare of breeding dogs
AVS defines special conditions under which dogs can be bred.
Inbreeding is not allowed and dogs with harmful hereditary diseases are not allowed to breed under the new conditions.
Some examples of hereditary diseases are brachycephalic syndrome, epilepsy, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and urinary bladder stones.
According to the AVS, every breeding dog is not allowed to breed more than one litter per year.
In addition, all breeding dogs over six years of age must be retired. The dog must also be sterilized within six months of the age of six.
Dogs shouldn’t be locked in all the time
It is also mandatory for dog breeders to ensure that the animals they care for have adequate social interaction and enrichment through certain conditions.
Dog breeders must offer their animals the opportunity to interact with humans and other animals.
This can be achieved by providing secured areas for exercise and interaction activities at least once a day.
Revisions for the boarding industry
According to AVS, new boarder-specific conditions will be introduced and applied to commercial boarding facilities.
The boarding facility guidelines were unclear. In contrast to animal farms, commercial pension institutions such as animal hotels are not subject to random checks and do not meet licensing conditions.
Currently only five commercial borders operating on arable land are licensed, but subject to breeding license conditions.
In addition to certain admission conditions, more animals such as cats and other small mammals are admitted.
AVS said this is to ensure higher standards of care for all animals on board and greater accountability of boarding school students.
The revised terms and conditions for the licensed boarding school cover areas such as health and disease management, room allocation, and staff training.
Around 50 commercial pet boarding houses will have to be licensed after the new rules come into effect.
Health and disease management
Under the new conditions, only vaccinated animals without communicable diseases can be admitted.
Animal boarding houses are obliged to carry out daily health checks for the animals in their care.
There will also be a specific list of conditions that require immediate veterinary attention.
An isolation area needs to be created to separate sick animals from others to prevent the spread of disease when immediate veterinary help is not available.
Appropriate allocation of space
The revised conditions set the dimensions and specification for the animal habitat.
The conditions also determine the types of appropriate housing for all animals such as dogs, cats and small mammals.
Keepers must ensure that animals are given adequate space to ensure that fighting does not occur.
Training and responsibility
There will be compulsory training and refresher courses for boarders and staff caring for the animals.
In the event of serious injury or death to animals during boarding, the staff must inform AVS and the animal owner immediately.
Records must also be kept of such incidents.
New license conditions are to be introduced in 2022
After the public consultation, the license conditions for breeders and retirees will be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Breeders and retirees have six months to make the necessary adjustments before the full terms are expected to be implemented in the second quarter of 2022.
Chua Tze Hoong, Group Director for Industry and Biosecurity Management at AVS, said unannounced Checks take place “at least once a year” to ensure compliance by those involved.
Penalties such as warnings, compensation penalties, criminal prosecution or license revocation are imposed on those who do not adhere to the new conditions of the Animal and Bird Act.
Opening the public consultation, Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How said, “With the rise in pet ownership in Singapore, I am sure the public will be interested in taking a look at how their pets are being bred or on board. ”
Citizens can submit their feedback here until July 31st.
Top picture by National Parks Board / Facebook