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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dog debarking notice sparks outcry from animal lovers

A HOUSING Board notice that asked some dog owners in Ang Mo Kio to consider “debarking your dog through surgery”, which would quell noisy dogs by cutting their vocal chords, has been removed following criticism by animal lovers.

The Housing Board notice, dated Aug 22 and posted in the lift lobby, referred to feedback about nuisance barking in the middle of the night at Block 601, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.

It asked dog owners to consider three ways to keep their pets from barking incessantly: obedience training, using training collars or debarking through surgery.

Animal welfare groups criticised the option of surgery as inhumane. A post on the Action for Singapore Dogs’ Facebook page said they “strongly object” to such surgery as it is an “extremely cruel and painful procedure of removing the vocal cords, which can cause constant physical pain”.

Corinne Fong, the executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said that while she acknowledged barking could be an inconvenience to those who lived in flats, she found the debarking recommendation “disappointing” as the procedure is “one that destroys an animal’s central means of communication merely for human convenience.”

SPCA also objects to the use of training collars or electric collars as they cause pain and fear by delivering a low-level electric shock to the animal as a form of punishment.

Fong advised pet owners to first consider approaches which do not harm the animal’s welfare such as obedience training to teach dogs socially acceptable behaviour.

The Agency for Animal Welfare said it e-mailed the Ministry of National Development on Thursday morning about the notice and received a positive e-mail response from Minister of State Desmond Lee. The notice was later removed. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Tags / Keywords: dog debarking notice , animal lovers , dog , barking


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