Indonesians lend helping hand in dog sterilisation

During the training programme held over four days last month, the participants from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and animal welfare groups were taken to various outfield sites where they practised trapping methods taught by trainers.
During the training programme held over four days last month, the participants from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and animal welfare groups were taken to various outfield sites where they practised trapping methods taught by trainers.PHOTO: AGRI-FOOD AND VETERINARY AUTHORITY

6 officials train AVA staff, volunteers ahead of nationwide scheme to be rolled out from Q4

Six Indonesian officials have helped to train Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) staff and volunteers here for a nationwide dog sterilisation programme to be rolled out later this year.

The nine AVA employees and 22 volunteers from eight animal welfare groups were trained to capture and handle stray dogs humanely, among other things, over four days from Sept 25.

One of the Indonesian officials is the former national master trainer from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations: Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases Indonesia, AVA said in a statement yesterday. The team includes two vets and three dog catchers.

The officials have been conducting mass vaccinations of stray dogs in Bali since 2011, as part of a rabies control programme under Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture.

The training was conducted ahead of a national Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage programme to be progressively carried out in Singapore from the last quarter of this year.

AVA will work with 11 animal welfare groups, veterinarians and other stakeholders as part of the programme.

Mr Joshua Teoh, director of AVA's animal management group, said the operations in Bali are similar to Singapore's nationwide sterilisation programme, in which a large number of dogs would be caught, vaccinated and sterilised, before they are released or rehomed.

 
 
 

One of the Indonesian trainers, Dr Ahmad Gozali, said: "We hope that through this training programme, participants are equipped not just with the knowledge but, most importantly, with the skills they need in the humane capturing and handling of the strays."

Among other things, participants were taught a ninja technique in which one person distracts the dog while another approaches from behind to trap the canine in a net.

A total of 12 dogs were caught during the training. They will be sterilised and rehomed or released in the areas where they were caught.

Mr V. Mohan, an operations executive with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: "Even though I have been rescuing animals for 27 years, I still learnt a lot of new ideas from the training... which I can incorporate into my future rescue work."

Ms Alyssa Lim, director of Mercylight, an animal shelter, said the training allowed her to learn practical skills from the professionals.

She added: "As trapping of dogs requires teamwork, our challenge now is to apply the skills and knowledge we attained ... in training our own volunteers."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'Indonesians lend helping hand in dog sterilisation'. Print Edition | Subscribe