New scheme for retired sniffer dogs launched

Left: Senior Staff Sergeant Leong Mun Keong with Sniper. The new scheme allows more people to adopt retired canines. Right: Staff Sergeant Daniel Tan with Xelia. Under Project Adore, large dogs can be kept as pets in HDB flats with proper documentati
Left: Senior Staff Sergeant Leong Mun Keong with Sniper. The new scheme allows more people to adopt retired canines. Right: Staff Sergeant Daniel Tan with Xelia. Under Project Adore, large dogs can be kept as pets in HDB flats with proper documentation and safeguards in place.PHOTOS: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Members of the public can adopt these canines and rehome them in HDB flats under Project Adore

Under a new one-year scheme, Housing Board residents can adopt retired sniffer dogs from military, police and civil defence units, the authorities said yesterday.

This expands the number of large dogs that can be adopted by the public in HDB flats under an initiative called Project Adore, which was launched in 2012.

It also means more people can adopt retired sniffer dogs.

Previously, only the sniffer dogs' handlers from government units could adopt the retired canines under a one-year pilot launched last year. That pilot, which helped to rehome 14 sniffer dogs, will be made permanent tomorrow.

Before that initiative, the government units worked with animal welfare groups to rehome the retired dogs mostly in private residences.

Retired dogs that are not rehomed are taken care of by the units until they die.

Large dogs are usually not allowed to be kept as pets in HDB flats. But under Project Adore, this can be done with proper documentation and safeguards in place.

Under Project Adore, HDB flat owners can adopt local mixed breed dogs weighing up to 15kg and measuring up to 50cm tall, a slight increase from the toy breeds that are allowed.

Adopters are allowed only one dog per flat, and have to abide by stringent ownership conditions, such as sterilising and routinely vaccinating the dogs. New owners must enrol their dogs for obedience training courses, and sign a Code of Responsible Behaviour.

Project Adore is implemented by five animal welfare groups - Action for Singapore Dogs, Save Our Street Dogs, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Exclusively Mongrels and Causes for Animals.

Under the new scheme announced yesterday, the public can adopt retired dogs from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force K-9 units, and the Singapore Armed Forces Military Working Dog Unit.

The new scheme will be subject to the same conditions as Project Adore. These include the screening of potential adopters, a framework to encourage community acceptance of the dogs, such as setting up mediation channels for disputes, and measures to prevent abandonment of the dogs through microchipping.

Project Adore has been well received since its launch, the joint statement by the ministries of national development, home affairs and defence said.

The statement added that residents of HDB estates are receptive to larger breeds of dogs living in their midst so long as owners exhibit responsible behaviour and there are proper channels in place for dispute mediation.

Animal Concerns Research and Education Society founder and chief executive Louis Ng, who is also an MP for Nee Soon GRC, said of the adoption scheme: "This is very positive news, and is certainly a big step forward. More of these big dogs can now find a permanent home, and also more people can adopt the dogs."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2018, with the headline 'New scheme for retired sniffer dogs launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe