Retired sniffer dogs to be rehomed in HDB flats under pilot programme

(From left) Private Valesko Seow with an SCDF urban search and rescue dog, a labrador; Private Sanjay Nair with an SCDF urban search and rescue dog, a cocker spaniel; SSgt Jayaganesh from Tuas Integrated Checkpoint with an explosive detector dog, a l
(From left) Private Valesko Seow with an SCDF urban search and rescue dog, a labrador; Private Sanjay Nair with an SCDF urban search and rescue dog, a cocker spaniel; SSgt Jayaganesh from Tuas Integrated Checkpoint with an explosive detector dog, a labrador retriever; Corporal Ng Jun Xu from the SAF Military Working Dog Unit, with a sniffer dog, a labrador retriever.PHOTOS: SCDF, SPF, SAF

SINGAPORE - From June, dog handlers from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force K-9 units, and the SAF Military Working Dog Unit will be allowed to rehome retired sniffer dogs in HDB flats under a one-year pilot expansion of Project Adore.

Project Adore was launched in 2012 to assess how well mixed-breed dogs would be accepted in HDB estates, if proper safeguards were in place.

The Ministry of National Development (MND), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Defence, who have co-led the pilot expansion, said that the Project Adore scheme had been "well-received" so far.

"Observations have shown that residents have been receptive to larger dog breeds in their neighbourhoods if the dog owners behaved responsibly and there were proper channels in place for dispute mediation," the ministries said in a joint media statement.

"K-9 and MWDU dog handlers have expressed interest in adopting the service dogs after they are retired from service," they added.

"They train and work with their dogs on a daily basis, have developed close bonds with them, and are experienced in managing these well-trained dogs. These dogs have also contributed to Singapore's safety and security while on active duty.

"However, K-9 and MWDU dog handlers who reside in HDB flats have been unable to adopt their dogs as the size and breeds of the retired dogs do not meet existing HDB regulations or Project Adore's criteria. With this pilot expansion, they will now be able to do so."

The pilot expansion is supported by HDB, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Animal Welfare Group partners under Project Adore.

The sniffer dog breeds that are permitted include labradors, English springers, cocker spaniels and pointers.

MND will review the pilot expansion after a year to assess whether to extend it to other types of service dogs.

The same conditions in place for Project Adore will apply to the pilot expansion.

These include the screening of potential adopters, a framework to encourage community acceptance of the dogs, and measures to discourage abandonment of the dogs such as microchipping.

All adopters must comply with the ownership conditions and the Code of Responsible Behaviour as set out by MND.