askST: Why are HDB dwellers limited to smaller pets?

Reader Violet Poh wrote in to askST about dog ownership in Housing Development Board (HDB). With regards to HDB guidelines on 60 approved breeds, she asked "How is this list justified and comprehensive?"

She also questioned the difference in ownership conditions between HDB and private housing. "Why the discrimination against those who stay in government housing? Do we lack the space needed or the abilities to manage more than one dog in our homes (in reality, most HDB flats are bigger or on par with condominiums)."

Reporter Muneerah Ab Razak checked with the authorities for an answer.

A statement from the Ministry Of National Development explained that the HDB's principal consideration in setting rules for pet ownership is "to preserve a pleasant living environment and good neighbourly relations".

It added: "We need to strike a balance between residents who are pet lovers and those who may have concerns about the keeping of pets in HDB flats. "

The current list of approved breeds was drawn up jointly by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore and HDB. The full list is available at str.sg/4wYF.

The MND added: "These breeds are generally smaller dogs that are more manageable and easily carried, especially in confined public spaces such as lifts."

HDB owners who wish to keep a slightly larger dog can still do so under Project ADORE.

This scheme, implemented by the Government in partnership with Animal Welfare Groups (AWGs), allows HDB residents to keep dogs that are up to 15kg in weight and 50cm in height. This is a slight increase from the size of the approved breeds, which are a maximum of 10kg in weight and 40cm at the shoulders.

The scheme aims to encourage adoption of larger dogs, but adopters have to abide by strict rules, including microchipping their new pets and signing up for obedience lessons.

The scheme is offered by Action for Dogs, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Save Our Street Dogs.

More askST stories here.