Pet owners can help allay fears of big dogs in flats

There is no need to restrict pet owners living in HDB flats to smaller dogs.

Instead, considerations such as the space in a flat and educating people to be responsible pet owners can factor into decisions regarding regulating pet ownership in flats (Many HDB residents say no to bigger dogs in flats; June 9).

Rescued animals deserve a chance at a better life in new homes, and reviewing the HDB ruling would allow this. This could be coupled with better public education efforts aimed at pet owners and non-pet owners.

It is important that owners do their part to help minimise anxieties among residents who perceive larger dogs to be more aggressive, such as leashing their pets in public areas, muzzling larger breeds of dogs when taking the lifts and cleaning up after their pets.

In addition, owners would also need to train their pets so as to minimise instances of excessive barking.

Perhaps the authorities could consider limiting the number of larger dogs per household for a start. This could allow more dogs to be adopted by deserving families who will care for them. It will also help control the stray population.

Animal welfare groups have been doing their best to help street dogs through initiatives such as Project Adore. Facilitating more dialogue sessions with the public could change negative attitudes and foster more positive perceptions towards the animals, such as the idea that larger dogs can be trained and are not temperamental in nature.

Rescued animals deserve a chance at a better life in new homes, and reviewing the HDB ruling would allow this. This could be coupled with better public education efforts aimed at pet owners and non-pet owners.

I urge the Government and animal welfare groups to continue working together and to keep up efforts such as rehoming and sterilising street animals.

Public education will also go a long way in showing that larger dogs do not pose a threat and that the onus lies on owners to train the animals.

Reviewing the existing guidelines on dogs in HDB flats will help free up the limited space in shelters so that more animals roaming the streets and that need urgent medical attention can be rescued and treated.

Everyone has a part to play in the welfare of animals.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2018, with the headline 'Pet owners can help allay fears of big dogs in flats'. Print Edition | Subscribe