Please meet Caramel the Papillon — the newest member of our family! She was “rescued” from a puppy mill by Voices For Animals and Dogs Owners Guidance Singapore, who are at Mutts and Mittons at Pasir Ris Farmway Drive (as I type this) trying to re-home some of the other poor pups from Caramel’s batch. Yesterday after work, Gijo and I rushed down to The Pet Doctors at Pandan Valley to visit Caramel, who was undergoing her first medical check up since she was rescued. I was not prepared for the sight that greeted me. I thought I knew the levels of cruelty my fellow man was capable of… But I was not expecting to have to stare it in the face. There were at least four or five dogs in really bad shape, all waiting around after having gone through their medical check up. These were a few of the ones my heart went out to:
And here is Caramel, with terrible flea infestation and tick fever, waiting for her shave down. Gijo and I decided a shave down was the best way to nip the problem in the bud, even if she does look like a bald rat for the mo’.
I hope you’re as horrified as I am. I’ve heard (because I couldn’t watch) about the horrific videos online from China; where people have stabbed the heels of their shoes into the eyes of puppies, and skinned dogs alive on the streets. I thought I knew the levels of human deprivation. It seemed so far away, in a country that I honestly feel could do to learn some compassion and manners, until I saw a portion of it in my own backyard. What kind of terrible, vapid human being does this to the animals in his/her care? Most of poor dogs were infested with fleas (comparable to leaving a human in a tank of sandflies), and some couldn’t see or walk properly. They were all found to have varying levels of malnutrition.
Interestingly enough, I was speaking with one of the ladies I met at the vet about her experiences with rescue dogs from puppy mills. This is what she shared with me. She mentioned that Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has about four officers who investigate complaints from the public on animal cruelty. Apparently, they call the puppy mill some time beforehand, to let them know that they’ll be “paying a visit”. With the time the breeder now has, he cleans up in preparation for the AVA officer. And if, despite his efforts, the AVA officer still finds that a few dogs are sick, the breeder is given a chance to fix the problem, and an alternate date is set for the AVA officer to come for a second visit. Most breeders don’t treat the dogs, they just put them down, so there’s no chance they’ll face a $10,000 fine from AVA. So technically, the breeders aren’t breaking the law. Furthermore, if the breeder does get shut down by AVA, the non-profit animal welfare organisations will have a re-homing problem on their hands. If you’ve read that whole paragraph, you’ll realise that there are some flaws in the system. (And if you find that the information I’ve received is incorrect, please feel free to show me)
I’ve lifted this from AVA’s website:
One of AVA’s key responsibilities is to safeguard animal welfare. AVA does this by enforcing animal welfare regulations and through public education.
As a champion for animal welfare, AVA has been actively promoting responsible pet ownership to equip existing and potential owners with knowledge on the care and responsibility that comes with owning a pet. As part of our educational efforts, AVA has been reaching out to students to inculcate a sense of responsible pet ownership through talks at schools since 2001.
“Enforcing” animal welfare regulations “through public education”. Seriously? Just look at the pictures of the dogs above. Do they look like anyone has “enforced” animal welfare regulations on the breeder who has had them? And while we’re at it, what kind of nonsense is this calling ahead before an inspection? It’s not a damn tea party with cucumber sandwiches! And making an appointment to follow up? What is this, a dental appointment? For God’s sake, hire more manpower if that’s what it would take to ensure that the organisation had the capacity to carry out surprise inspections!
I am in disbelief that such uncompassionate people exist, and AVA does not enforce more airtight laws in support of animal welfare. And if we all just sit by and accept this in silence, then we are just as bad as those indifferent, callous breeders. It’s sad. We’ve come so far as a country. We have power and water at our disposal, so much economic success, and comfortable homes to live in. We’re not plagued by diseases or blinding hunger. Most of us want for nothing. Actually no… Correction. I believe most of us still want for compassion.