Dog owners will soon have to inform the authorities when they sell or give away their pets, and provide the particulars of the new owners, said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) yesterday.
This is part of stricter licensing requirements for pet dogs that will kick in on March 1.
Under the enhanced rules, which were first announced last November, pet businesses will also have to license each dog, and transfer ownership of the dogs to their new owners when sold. The onus is now on owners to license their dogs, and many do not, those in the animal welfare community told The Straits Times.
The AVA said the new regulations are aimed at making pet dogs easier to trace, particularly in the event of a disease outbreak such as rabies; discouraging owners from abandoning their pets; and reuniting lost dogs with their owners.
The requirements do not extend to shelters, though many already ensure adopted dogs are licensed.
The AVA said it has been working with pet businesses - comprising dog farms, pet shops and importers - to prepare them for the new rules since November last year, when it announced that it would be implementing stricter regulations.
"Some of the businesses said the change will reduce the amount of paperwork and help them keep track of their sources, which is important for disease control," said Ms Jessica Kwok, group director of AVA's animal management group.
Dog ownership transfers for both individual pet owners and businesses can be done online on the AVA's Pet Animal Licensing System portal.
Those convicted of keeping an unlicensed dog face a fine of up to $5,000, while recalcitrant pet businesses may have their licences suspended or revoked, said the AVA.
Ms Joie Leong, a dog owner who is in her 30s, welcomed the new regulations. The make-up stylist, who owns a rescued poodle, said the stricter rules will help to reduce the number of dogs being abandoned as their ownership will be easily traceable.
It is illegal to abandon one's pet.
"I think it's a very good first step in promoting responsibility. Going further, AVA should also look at home breeders as they are unregulated," said Ms Leong.