Animal abandonment rates are high in Singapore; last year, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took in nearly 1,000 pets that were surrendered by their owners. Though this is a decrease from previous years, we should aim for even lower numbers.
The typical underlying cause is that the owner was not ready for a pet.
To address the lack of readiness in potential pet owners, we need to start instilling a responsible mindset towards pet ownership in members of our community. A segment of the Character and Citizenship Education curriculum in schools could be dedicated to responsible pet ownership. Community centres and libraries could host forums for potential pet owners to better understand the physical and emotional needs of pets. Pet shop staff could remind those looking for a pet of the responsibilities required to care for it.
By conveying the importance of committing to a pet, potential pet owners will heavily consider their level of readiness to own a pet. This ensures that more pet owners will welcome a pet into their home only when they are ready, resulting in many more happy endings for these animals.
Secondary 3 student