Cameras installed to monitor stray dogs

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AVA puts up cameras in Yishun field after feedback of people being chased by dogs

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has employed the use of cameras to monitor a pack of stray dogs in Yishun after receiving feedback about public safety concerns.

Ms Janet Sum, founder of cat interest Facebook group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, said the cameras appeared in the open field between Yishun Avenues 6 and 8 on Oct 19.

"I called AVA and was told there were complaints from members of the public about the dogs chasing after them, plus reports of cats being killed in the vicinity," she said.

Ms Sum added that she knows of five adult dogs and two puppies that frequent the area, which is about the size of two football fields.

In a reply to The Straits Times, an AVA spokesman said the agency has temporarily installed three cameras at the field to monitor the situation.

"For instance, we have received feedback that cyclists and young children have been chased by a pack of dogs. In addition, a cat was found to have been killed by stray dogs in the vicinity."

Ms Janet Sum, founder of Facebook group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, said she knows of five adult dogs and two puppies that frequent the open field between Yishun Avenues 6 and 8.
Ms Janet Sum, founder of Facebook group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, said she knows of five adult dogs and two puppies that frequent the open field between Yishun Avenues 6 and 8. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

VULNERABLE

Stray dogs do not enjoy good welfare and living conditions... These animals may not be able to fend for themselves in the environment and the risks they face can be fatal.

AVA SPOKESMAN

AVA has previously installed cameras in response to similar feedback.

Ms Sum, who lives in Yishun and feeds the stray cats and dogs there, said: "They were never aggressive towards me. My guess is they might have chased some passing cyclists, thinking the cyclists are going to feed them."

She said the dogs are likely to be hiding in the forested area around Sungei Khatib Bongsu, which is close to the open field where the dogs were spotted.

When The Straits Times visited the location on Monday afternoon and Tuesday evening, numerous cyclists and joggers were seen travelling along the Yishun Avenue 6 side of the open area.

Mr Ronnie Koh, 42, a technician, said he often sees around two dogs at the field while making his way home at 2am after his shift.

He added: "But they are not a nuisance and there's not even much barking. The sound of cars passing by is louder."

When he first saw the cameras, he thought they were meant to monitor people flying kites or drones there because the field is only a five-minute drive to Seletar Airport.

Lorry driver Lee Khong Heng, 52, who has lived there for over 10 years, said there used to be more dogs there, but the population has been on the decline since part of  "the forested area became flattened land".

Ms Janet Sum, founder of Facebook group Yishun 326 Tabby Cat, said she knows of five adult dogs and two puppies that frequent the open field between Yishun Avenues 6 and 8.
ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Madam Lim Lee Hua, 65, a retiree, said: "I have no problems with them. The only issue is that the dogs might keep breeding."

The president of animal welfare group SOSD, Dr Siew Tuck Wah, said he welcomes AVA's use of cameras.

"Sometimes, the complainants tend to exaggerate the situation, so it would be good if the authorities can actually verify the complaints."

The AVA spokesman said impounded stray dogs will be rehomed, if assessed to be suitable in terms of health and temperament. The agency will work with animal welfare group rehoming partners for this.

The spokesman added: "Stray dogs do not enjoy good welfare and living conditions. They are constantly exposed to the elements and face various risks, such as starvation, disease, parasitic infections, cruelty, and getting knocked down by vehicles.

"These animals may not be able to fend for themselves in the environment and the risks they face can be fatal. Stray dogs should not be left in the environment, but should be rehomed and properly cared for by responsible owners."

AVA had previously advised the public who encounter stray dogs to stay calm, not stare at them and walk slowly away without making any sudden movements.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'Cameras installed to monitor stray dogs'. Print Edition | Subscribe