As much as there are irresponsible owners in Singapore, and anywhere else, there is always a dog-loving community, people who innately know that animal welfare is important and understand that animals are sentient beings.
Googling to see how the trend of dog issues and animal welfare, in general, has changed over the past few years of absence, I do see more movement towards better understanding of dogs and dog ownership.
I’m thrilled to see more pet shops offering high quality foods, biodegradable poop bags, biological-based tick control, and supplies for large dogs. Thrilled to see the number of dog forums increasing. At least people are asking questions and trying to find out more. Dog-welfare advocates offer information and logical reasons for training your dog, not breeding your dog, not abandoning your dog, and best of all, even if having a dog is right for you.
With the quite recent close of a Pasir Ris puppy mill and the abandonment of 75 dogs, more media attention is focused on the issue of puppy mills in Singapore. More animal cruelty cases seem to come to light as well, convicted owners being fined or jailed. It’s coming more to the forefront, where hopefully more people will make conscious and heart-centred decisions about dog ownership and welfare.
Being such a small country, I would think and hope that we can change the paradigm of dog welfare. Stricter regulations are needed for the pet industry, especially breeding, selling, and importing of pet dogs. Low cost or free desexing to decrease the stray population. More weight behind tougher penalties and enforcement of animal cruelty cases can hopefully send the message that Singapore society does not stand for abuse and flagrant treatment of animals. Education programs need to get into the school system to connect kids back to animals and nature.
I believe that anyone can make a 180° flip and get switched on, at any time, any age. There does seem to be a gap between having the knowledge and making a life-affirming decision. Knowing about the existence of puppy mills does not necessarily stop people from buying a dog from the pet shop. I’m not sure how to connect the dots but I do think that people are opening their hearts and when they do, they will see that animals are indeed sentient beings and that they don’t deserve to suffer.