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Don’t blame stray dogs for rat infestation at Bukit Batok: SPCA

SINGAPORE — Stray dogs are not to blame for the rat infestation at Bukit Batok, said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore, pointing instead to members of the public who feed the dogs without cleaning up the leftover food.

Don’t blame stray dogs for rat infestation at Bukit Batok: SPCA

Animal welfare groups hope the authorities do not clamp down on stray feeding or the presence of stray dogs in the Bukit Batok area. TODAY FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — Stray dogs are not to blame for the rat infestation at Bukit Batok, said the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore, pointing instead to members of the public who feed the dogs without cleaning up the leftover food.

In a letter sent to this newspaper yesterday (Dec 25), the SPCA’s executive director Corinne Fong responded to media reports on the cause of the rodent infestation, calling for greater tolerance towards community animals.

She said: “SPCA wishes to dispute the notion that the community dogs are ultimately responsible for the rodent infestation in the area. Many a time, it has been observed that members of the public have been casually feeding the dogs, without actually cleaning up leftover food.”

She added that there is “already a core group of community feeders (and caregivers tending to the dogs’ basic nutritional needs and care) who would be happy to help in resolving any issue concerning the dogs”.

The issue of a rat infestation at Bukit Batok emerged earlier this month, with authorities placing the blame on indiscriminate stray feeding. Some people have called for the removal of the dogs in the area. Animal welfare groups TODAY spoke with previously had expressed concern that stray feeding was unfairly thrown into the spotlight, and they hoped that the authorities would not clamp down on the practice, or the presence of stray dogs in Bukit Batok.

Ms Fong pointed out: “We must recognise that the community dogs have no place to go and, while the SPCA and other animal welfare groups have tried their best to house them, they have space and resource constraints.” She add that the SPCA does not round up healthy animals from the streets.

“A little more empathy, too, will go a long way,” said Ms Fong.

More than 230 rats have been caught since the operations to eradicate them started on Dec 18. Pest controllers have said it will take two more weeks before the exercise ends.

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