Set up mediation department to deal with animal complaints

I was alarmed to read that pet cats are also picked up by the authorities following complaints by residents (AVA acknowledges it hires contractors to remove cats; May 30).

It is time that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) reviews its animal management policies and avoids immediately removing animals from the location.

It should work with animal welfare groups such as the Cat Welfare Society to ensure that residents' grievances are addressed.

Perhaps an animal mediation and management department could be set up together with the animal welfare groups. This department would attend to complaints by residents by speaking with them to understand the situation on the ground.

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The contact details and licences of these mediators and contractors should be listed in the AVA website.

This is to prevent unauthorised and independent contractors from using unorthodox trapping methods that cause distress to an animal.

Licensed AVA contractors should follow standard operating procedures to contact the mediators and adopt humane methods to trap an animal in the presence of an AVA officer or animal welfare mediator.

A framework must be implemented to determine if a captured animal has an owner. If the animal is a lost pet, it should be temporarily housed to ensure its safety. A centralised lost and found directory is essential, so owners can see if their lost pets are in the pound.

At the same time, pet owners should exercise responsibility and ensure their pet remains indoors, or supervise them when they are outdoors.

Precautions such as ensuring the pet has a pet identification collar and a microchip that is registered in AVA's database will help safeguard the animal's safety.

Having better animal welfare management procedures will boost the standards of animal welfare.

Residents should contact the animal welfare groups or rescuers if they come across a lost animal, and keep a watchful eye on the community animals so all animals are kept safe.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Set up mediation department to deal with animal complaints'. Print Edition | Subscribe