Forum: Bigger problems with bigger dogs in HDB flats

A photo from Jan 6, 2019, shows Shetland sheepdogs with their owners at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. PHOTO: ST FILE

The decision to allow Housing Board flat owners to adopt bigger dogs under a government scheme has sparked widespread debate (Fur flies over HDB cat ban following rule change for dogs, March 8).

The presence of dogs in residential estates already adds a high level of inconvenience to the daily lives of residents, much less allowing for bigger ones.

First, the incessant barking of some dog breeds can cause a huge commotion, especially in the morning and at night when residents are kept awake.

Most of my neighbours keep at least one dog at home, and the dogs are perpetually barking.

Second, there are some dog owners who choose not to leash their dogs and instead allow them to run free.

I have been in situations before where I chose to take a big detour due to my fear of having to be near a dog which was roaming around freely.

While I understand that these owners love their dogs and want to maximise their dogs' roaming time, it is not fair to those who are afraid of animals, even if they claim that their dogs "do not bite".

With bigger dogs running around, it is bound to create more fear in people.

As much as I trust that most Singaporeans are considerate pet owners, there are still bound to be some black sheep who do not clean up after their dogs' mess.

This would only increase the work of the cleaners and our risk of stepping on the dogs' waste.

This new criterion is likely to give rise to even more contentious issues and problems, and I question if this move was even necessary in the first place.

While it is possible to put additional measures in place to ensure minimal disturbance to the lives of other residents - such as mandatory leashing of dogs and clearing of waste - it is extremely difficult to ensure that owners comply strictly.

Lynn Neo Si Jie

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2020, with the headline Forum: Bigger problems with bigger dogs in HDB flats. Subscribe