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Pet abandonment generally rose in past five years, half of cases involving cats: MND

SINGAPORE — The number of pet abandonment cases, half of which involve cats, have generally been on an upward trend over the past five years, with the National Parks Board (NParks) having investigated 225 of such alleged cases last year.

The National Parks Board investigated 225 cases of alleged pet abandonment in 2021.
The National Parks Board investigated 225 cases of alleged pet abandonment in 2021.

SINGAPORE — The number of pet abandonment cases, half of which involve cats, have generally been on an upward trend over the past five years, with the National Parks Board (NParks) having investigated 225 of such alleged cases last year.

For comparison, Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How told Parliament on Tuesday (March 1) that NParks had investigated 180 similar cases in 2017. This rose by 25 per cent to 225 cases in 2018.

In 2019, it rose slightly to 230 cases and fell to 215 cases in 2020, said Mr Tan in response to a parliamentary question raised by Workers' Party Member of Parliament (MP) Leon Perera of Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Mr Perera had asked how many pet abandonment cases were investigated over the past five years, how many fines and jail terms have been issued in such cases and whether Mr Tan’s ministry will review and strengthen frameworks for investigations into and sentencing for such cases.

He had also asked what proportion of the animals involved in these cases were cats.

In reply, Mr Tan said that about “half the cases investigated, and half the cases for which further action was taken, involved cats”.

He also said that to date, 11 people were issued composition fines, while 21 people were sentenced in court and fined. Only one person was given a jail term.

“We take a serious view of pet abandonment, and all acts involving failure in the duty of care for pets,” said Mr Tan.

He added that the Government will continue to review the penalties under the Animals and Birds Act to ensure that they “remain effective in deterring acts of pet abandonment”.

Under the Act, individuals who are found guilty of pet abandonment can face a maximum fine of S$10,000, or a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.

In a follow-up question, Mr Perera noted that animal rights and animal rescue groups have given feedback that some of the sentences meted out in pet abandonment cases are “below the maximum, and may not be so effective a deterrent”.

As such, he sought a timeframe for the review of the penalties for pet abandonment.

In his reply, Mr Tan reiterated an earlier response he had given to MP Louis Ng of Nee Soon GRC, and said this will be part of a “comprehensive review of the pet sector”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Ng had asked if the authorities would consider making it mandatory to have cats microchipped, which he said would help to reduce the abandonment of cats.

Mr Tan said that the Government has already started a comprehensive review of the pet sector that looks at training regimes for pet trainers, rehabilitation, adoption, routines and practices with animal welfare groups, engaging breeders and boarders, and also individual pet owners.

“The member asked about the microchipping cats. This will also be taken into consideration as we review the pet sector,” said Mr Tan.

Related topics

pet abandonment cats Workers' Party Louis Ng

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