New criteria allow bigger dogs to be rehomed in HDB flats

Ms Brenda Chong and her husband Heah Yong Chian, who live in a three-room HDB flat in Telok Blangah, adopted mixed-breed dog Belle, now three, under Project Adore from Causes for Animals in 2018. Dogs up to 55cm tall, with no weight limit, can now be
Ms Brenda Chong and her husband Heah Yong Chian, who live in a three-room HDB flat in Telok Blangah, adopted mixed-breed dog Belle, now three, under Project Adore from Causes for Animals in 2018. Dogs up to 55cm tall, with no weight limit, can now be rehomed in HDB flats under Project Adore. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Housing Board flat owners can now adopt bigger dogs under a government scheme that has revised the size criteria for rehoming local mixed-breed canines.

Dogs up to 55cm tall, with no weight limit, can be rehomed in HDB flats under Project Adore, the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) said yesterday.

Previously, only dogs under 50cm and up to 15kg could be rehomed in HDB flats under the scheme.

Large dogs are usually not allowed to be kept in HDB flats, but Project Adore enables this with proper documentation and measures in place.

The scheme began in 2012 and allows HDB dwellers to adopt a local mixed-breed dog, typically larger in size than HDB's approved breeds.

They cannot be bought from shops or breeders, but must come from one of five participating welfare groups - the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Action for Singapore Dogs, Save Our Street Dogs, Exclusively Mongrels and Causes for Animals.

Stray dogs are taken to vet clinics or the SPCA's clinic to be sterilised, vaccinated and microchipped before being rehomed through the animal welfare groups.

AVS, which comes under the National Parks Board, estimates that 50 more dogs, on top of the average of 250 dogs, could be rehomed each year with the changes, which will be assessed in a two-year pilot.

The scheme had seen 1,335 local mixed-breed dogs rehomed as of Dec 31 last year.

Potential adopters will be screened and all must abide by stringent ownership conditions, such as taking the dogs for sterilising, routine vaccinations and obedience training courses.

The AVS announced yesterday that the K9 public adoption scheme, which allows the public to adopt retired sniffer dogs, will be extended for another two years as no canine was available in the initial one-year pilot.

Dog lovers Brenda Chong, 27, and her husband Heah Yong Chian, a 29-year-old teacher, are proud owners of three-year-old Belle, which was once a stray dog in Tuas. The couple, who live in a three-room HDB flat in Telok Blangah, adopted her under Project Adore from Causes for Animals in August 2018.

Ms Chong, who is undergoing a diploma conversion course at the National Institute of Early Childhood Development, said: "In the beginning, she was a little reserved because she has never been in a home before but now, she is very comfortable. We know, because she makes yawning noises and likes to sleep everywhere, including on our bed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2020, with the headline 'New criteria allow bigger dogs to be rehomed in HDB flats'. Subscribe