Dog owners and pet businesses to face stricter licensing requirements from March

Dog owners and pet shops will face stricter licensing requirements when enhanced regulations kick in on March 1.
Dog owners and pet shops will face stricter licensing requirements when enhanced regulations kick in on March 1. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Stricter licensing requirements for pet dogs will kick in on March 1, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 31).

Under the enhanced regulations, announced in November last year (2016), dog owners who sell or give away their dogs will have to inform AVA that they are no longer keeping the dogs, and provide the particulars of the dog's new owners.

Businesses selling dogs will also have to license them before transferring ownership to the customer when he buys an animal.

The onus is currently on owners to license their dogs, which many fail to do, those in the animal welfare community told The Straits Times.

The regulations, amended on Tuesday (Jan 31), are aimed at improving the traceability of pet dogs, particularly in the event of a disease outbreak such as rabies, as well as discouraging pet abandonment and reuniting lost dogs with their owners, the AVA said.

Since the announcement, AVA has been working with pet businesses to prepare them for the new rules, and has received encouraging feedback, it said.

"Some of the businesses said that the change will reduce the amount of paper work and help them keep track of their sources, which is important for disease control. We will continue to engage our stakeholders and provide assistance where required, to ensure that the transition is smooth," said Ms Jessica Kwok, group director of AVA's animal management group.

To make it easier for dog farms and pet shops to comply with the revised licensing requirements, pet businesses will be able to register multiple dogs intended for sale under a single "group" dog licence. The licence fees will be tiered according to the number of dogs intended for sale, the AVA said.

Ownership transferral for both businesses and individual pet owners can be done on AVA's online Pet Animal Licensing System (Pals) portal.