I’m not a dog person. Nope. Not at all. I don’t hate them or anything, but my family has always been pretty firmly in the cat camp. After all, dogs are needy, clingy, slobbery and a bit smelly, whereas cats are super-awesome… or so I was told.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about cruelty towards dogs, or any other animal for that matter.
On 14 December, a jogger was attacked by a pack of stray dogs at the new park in Punggol in north-eastern Singapore. The dogs scratched and bit her. Since then the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), which had already been rounding up strays anyway, has intensified efforts, even contracting another company to help them with the task. According to volunteers, 24 dogs have been put down since the park was opened in September, eight of them since the incident.
‘Save the Punggol Strays’ is a Facebook page set up by concerned Singaporeans, hoping to rescue the dogs from being culled. Volunteers from animal welfare groups are now working with the authorities or claiming the dogs from them, posting photos online in the hopes of finding fosterers or adopters.
It isn’t easy to rehome these dogs: they’re too big to fit in Singapore’s HDB flats, which means that many potential adopters have to be turned down. Also, the dogs are already adults; far less “attractive” to adopters than cute fluffy puppies.
Culling has been used as a method of population control in Singapore, not just for stray dogs but also cats and birds. There is a limit to what animal welfare groups can do to rescue and rehome these animals. Despite best intentions and great effort, the sad fact remains that many animals – too many – end up being put down.
It may seem like a really straightforward way to get rid of a problem, but it isn’t. Culling doesn’t solve anything in the long run, and in the process so many animals lose their lives. What does it say about us humans when we cull animals en masse just because we deem them a nuisance?
This doesn’t happen only in Singapore, either; chances are, animals are being culled in your country too. Here’s what you can do to help:
Adopt, not buy
If you’re on the lookout for a pet, why not adopt one from the animal shelter or animal welfare groups instead of buying one from the pet shop? This way, you’ll be gaining a friend and saving a life at the same time!
Donate to the animal welfare groups
If you can’t adopt a pet, you can always help out by supporting animal welfare groups and volunteers through donations. A quick Google is often enough to help you locate some local animal welfare groups, or there’s always your local SPCA.
Support campaigns such as ‘Save the Punggol Strays’
Once in awhile targeted campaigns such as ‘Save the Punggol Strays’ will pop up, with volunteers needing help to rescue the animals, foster them, or to fundraise to get the resources to care for these animals. Help them out by donating, volunteering or spreading the word!
Images from Save The Punggol Strays.