People should do their part to manage stray dog problem

The launch of the sterilisation programme to manage the stray dog population in Singapore is laudable, but more can be done to improve animal welfare (5-year plan to curb number of stray dogs; Nov 11).

First, while some hold the view that feeding strays is being kind to these animals, it is irresponsible behaviour and should be stopped.

This sort of feeding could lead to problems like rat infestation and an unchecked population growth of these strays. It could also cause them to be aggressive.

There are already responsible feeders at strategic locations who work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to take care of strays in different parts of Singapore.

Second, let us not overreact to strays and such animal nuisance by calling for culling as in the cases of the chickens in Pasir Ris and the monkeys in Bukit Timah.

Sterilisation has often been a more effective solution as seen in how it successfully reduced the dog population in Pulau Ubin and overseas, and the number of the white-tailed deer in Washington.

There are also other sustainable and humane solutions, such as relocation or rehoming, like what animal rescue volunteer Derrick Tan did with the Sin Ming chickens (Sin Ming chickens get place to roost; March 4, 2017).

Third, we should look to adopt rather than buy pets.

The rate at which animals are abandoned and that of commercial breeding by pet shops and farms are higher than that of adoptions from shelters.

Animal shelters are forced to put to sleep those animals that are less fit for adoption due to space constraints.

The Government has been more open to suggestions and collaborations with organisations, and the sterilisation programme is one such example.

But let us not leave it to only them and also do our part for animals.

Elliot Tan Yew Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2018, with the headline 'People should do their part to manage stray dog problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe