AVA issues warnings to three pet retailers for lapses

Acres found 13 pet shops that did not display their pet shop-grade decals, but AVA found that only seven did not do so.
Acres found 13 pet shops that did not display their pet shop-grade decals, but AVA found that only seven did not do so. PHOTO: AVA

This follows surprise checks after Acres report that 31 had breached licensing terms

Three pet retailers have received warnings from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), following an investigation report by an animal welfare group released in May this year.

The Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) had released its findings after randomly selecting and visiting 41 pet shops and farms from March to May.

It alleged that 31 of them breached licensing conditions, such as requirements about the size and flooring of pet cages.

AVA said it made unannounced visits to the 31 retailers but discovered only "minor lapses" among the pet shops.

One complaint that Acres had was the size of the cages. Some 19 pet shops and farms were found to have cages that did not meet size conditions, said Acres.

STRONGER PENALTIES IF NEEDED

If further breaches are found in the same pet shops, we hope that stronger penalties will be meted out to serve as a greater deterrence.

MR LOUIS NG, Acres chief executive

But AVA said that its checks found 12 to have cages which were "slightly smaller" than required.

It added that it will allow some variation "provided the animals have sufficient area to move around comfortably, as well as lie down and stretch".

Despite the allowance, it issued a warning to a pet farm which had failed to satisfy size conditions.

In the report, Acres also had video evidence showing two dogs kept in cages which appeared to be too small.

AVA found that these cages were used to keep the dogs for a short time, before and after their grooming sessions, and did not issue any warnings.

Acres also identified 14 pet retailers that did not have floor mats for pet cages, as required under licensing conditions.

But AVA said it will allow retailers to use "alternative flooring, provided it is firm and comfortable for the animals, and does not trap the foot of the animal".

Out of the 14 retailers, AVA found that two did not use "acceptable alternative flooring", and issued warning letters to them too.

Acres had also identified two pet shops and farms that did not provide drinking water for puppies, but AVA's investigations showed they gave water at regular intervals.

Acres also found 13 pet shops that did not display their pet shop-grade decals, but AVA found that only seven did not do so. These seven pet shops now display the decals, AVA said.

AVA thanked Acres for its "discreet observations on the ground", in a statement released yesterday.

Acres chief executive Louis Ng said: "If further breaches are found in the same pet shops, we hope that stronger penalties will be meted out to serve as a greater deterrence."

He also hoped that there would be more clarity in the conditions, noting that pet retailers and owners would benefit when requirements are more clearly spelt out.

"We will continue working closely with AVA, and also work on updating and improving the pet shop licensing conditions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'AVA issues warnings to three pet retailers for lapses'. Print Edition | Subscribe