Dog daycare centre has isolation order fully lifted

Dogs under quarantine at Sunny Heights in July. The centre has put in place measures to prevent disease transmission and its staff are trained to closely monitor the dogs for clinical signs of disease or abnormalities.
Dogs under quarantine at Sunny Heights in July. The centre has put in place measures to prevent disease transmission and its staff are trained to closely monitor the dogs for clinical signs of disease or abnormalities.ST FILE PHOTO

An isolation order imposed on Sunny Heights, a daycare centre for dogs, has been fully lifted with immediate effect, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a statement yesterday.

The order, which was issued on July 13, prohibited any dog from entering or leaving the centre's premises in Turf Club Road in Bukit Timah without the AVA's authorisation.

"It's a huge relief," said Sunny Heights head of operations Derrick Tan. "We are able to start our daily activities for the animals."

The isolation order had come about following an increase of leptospirosis cases linked to the centre. The bacterial disease can affect both animals and humans.

But the AVA said yesterday that there have been no new confirmed cases of leptospirosis in dogs associated with the centre since July.

The order was partially lifted on Aug 3 and Sunny Heights was allowed to accept new dogs.

These dogs were kept in designated areas to ensure that they would not come into contact with existing resident dogs.

Mr Tan said Sunny Heights worked closely with the authorities throughout the period, and praised the AVA for handling the situation professionally.

Sunny Heights has put in place measures to prevent disease transmission. These include a rodent control programme and requiring all incoming dogs to have current vaccinations.

The centre has also cleaned and disinfected its swimming pool and stepped up its daily sanitation and cleaning regimen.

Its staff are trained to closely monitor the dogs for any clinical signs of disease or abnormalities.

Mr Tan said the outbreak and its aftermath has been an educating experience. "But we had to pay a heavy bill for this lesson," he said.

He said losses resulting from the isolation order had exceeded $100,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline 'Dog daycare centre has isolation order fully lifted'. Print Edition | Subscribe