The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) issued a new Code of Animal Welfare (for Pet Owners) on 15 June 2017 with immediate effect. This follows the issuance of the Code of Animal Welfare (for the Pet Industry) in Oct 2016 with a grace period of six months from 1 Oct 2016 to 31 March 2017.
Below are three things pet owners should know to meet the minimum standards set out by the AVA to ensure the welfare of their pets.
Minimum standards under the Code of Animal Welfare for Pet Owners
1. You are accountable for your pet
If you are moving your pet to another place, whether temporarily or permanently, you need to make reasonable arrangements for its care.
If you have lost your pet, you have to report it to the police or AVA. You also need to make an effort to find your pet, which may include putting up “missing pet” advertisements and asking neighbours and animal welfare groups for help.
To avoid losing your pet, you should secure your doors and gates at home to prevent your pet from escaping.
It’s also good to note that it is an AVA rule that pet owners have to license their pets. If you are selling or giving pets away, please inform AVA and update the new owners’ details.
2. You need to give your pet a safe and humane living space
According to AVA, appropriate housing and environment for your pet to eat, rest, sleep, and hide have to be:
- Spacious enough to move around comfortably
It should not be exposed to:
- excessive noise
- sunlight or heat
- strong winds
These standards also apply to the handling and transporting of pets.
As for tethering, you should secure tethers to an object that would not move, fall, or hurt your pet. It should also be long enough for your pet to rest comfortably. Choke chains should not be used for tethering.
Editor’s note: We generally do not condone tethering pets at home and using choke chains for whatever reasons.
3. You need to give your pet what it needs to be as healthy as possible
You are responsible for your pet’s health. That starts with giving your pet a nutritious and appropriate diet. A good diet needs to support your pet’s age, gender, activity levels, health status etc..
Your pet should also get adequate exercise and socialisation, and receive medical attention whenever necessary.
You should give special attention to pregnant and infant pets, cold climate dog breeds, and birds that are subject to wing clipping. For example, infant pets should be fully and properly weaned before leaving their mothers.
For the full set of minimum standards, go to AVA’s website.
Failure to meet the minimum standards set out in the code is not an offence by itself. But according to AVA, it “may be used as evidence of (i) failure to comply with your duty of care towards an animal, (ii) animal cruelty, or (iii) any other offence committed under the Animals and Birds Act.”