Promise of a new home for Singapore’s abandoned dogs and cats

For years, a section of Pasir Ris Farmway has been home to a small collective of animal shelters housing a staggering number of rescued animals – 1,000 dogs and 800 cats.

Split between seven animal welfare groups and several passionate individual rescuers, the space is also shared by commercial pet farms and private boarding houses.

When the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) announced last October that the shelters had to vacate by the end of this year to make way for industrial development, it sent tenants into a panic as the process of finding new shelters to move to in a year seemed like an impossible task.

Their initial worries were alleviated a month later when the government said it would build new rental facilities for the animal shelters in Sungei Tengah by December this year.

The existing shelters vary in size and financial capability, and the dogs and cats in every one of them have their own stories.

Many are strays that were rescued, found with injuries or taken over from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) after being rounded up.

Some were given up by breeders when they became too old to breed.

Another perennial problem is dogs which are abandoned by owners who do not want to care of them anymore. This results in many animals being dumped near shelter entrances.

Mr Mohan Div is the co-founder of Animal Lovers League, the biggest and oldest shelter at Pasir Ris Farmway. It has 300 dogs and 200 cats, and its motto is “Every animal deserves a second chance”.

He stressed that everything the shelter does for the animals is motivated by compassion.

“People are getting too detached from nature and its attributes because we want to be sterile and squeaky clean,” he said.

“We have less fervor and a lot of disdain for animals, but animals, like humans, have every right to live.”

Although the future of the animals has been settled, some shelter owners, while grateful, are worried about the built-up nature of the new space. The facility, which will be managed by the AVA, is slated to be two storeys high.

For Mr Mohan, whose shelter has an outdoor area for animals to run around in, the new space will be a far cry from the existing premises.

“We are grateful for the space, and the good thing is that the animals won’t be stranded,” he said.

“But here, the animals can soak up the sun and watch the world go by… With the new arrangement, the freedom and space they enjoy now will be compromised.”

As he aptly put it, “it’s like moving from a bungalow to an HDB flat”.

Source: TheNation

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