NParks investigating incident in which blow darts were used on pigeons

Acres officers at the scene also found a pigeon with two darts on its body (right), but it flew away before they could attend to the bird.
Acres officers at the scene also found a pigeon with two darts on its body (right), but it flew away before they could attend to the bird.PHOTOS: ANIMAL CONCERNS RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SOCIETY/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The National Parks Board's Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) is looking into an incident in which blow darts were allegedly used on two pigeons, and urged the public to help with investigations by sharing any relevant photo or video evidence with it.

The suspected case of bird cruelty was first reported by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres) in a Facebook post on Monday (March 2), after the animal welfare group received a report from a member of the public at Block 864 Jurong West Street 81.

The caller had rescued a pigeon with a dart on its body, Acres said. Its officers at the scene also found a pigeon that had two darts on its body, but it flew away before they could attend to the bird.

Acres said that it was an "act of cruelty and violence to put the innocent birds through pain and suffering" and added that the possession of the blow darts and similar items or their sale online "should be strictly regulated considering the pain they can cause to any animal or human" if used on them.

Under the law, blow pipes are, as with Swiss Army knives and fencing swords, permissible items that do not require a licence or permit to import, export or own.

But unlawful possession of these items in any public place may be an offence.

Acres filed a police report over the incident and the police confirmed that the case has been lodged with them, but did not say if they were investigating.

Acres received 646 calls from the public regarding birds in distress in November last year, up from 521 in the same period in 2018. Although the majority of these calls are not directly related to human behaviour - caused by incidents such as birds flying into glass windows or attacks by other animals - some are human-induced.

In December last year, a woman hung a mynah from a laundry pole stand outside her flat purportedly to stop it from re-entering her kitchen.

Acres added that culling operations as part of bird control measures also lead some to dial its hotline.

Ms Jessica Kwok, group director of AVS, said those found abusing an animal or bird may be charged under the Animals and Birds Act, and could be jailed for up to 18 months, fined up to $15,000, or both.

She urged members of the public to promptly report suspected cases of animal cruelty to AVS via its website or call it on 1800-476-1600.