Pet peacocks are allowed but must be kept securely, says NParks after girl was attacked

The peacock that attacked at three-year-old girl on Nov 28, 2021. People are allowed to keep non-commercial poultry as pets - but only up to 10 of such animals. PHOTO: ST READER

SINGAPORE - Peacocks can be kept as pets in Singapore, but there are rules that owners must abide by.

Responding to queries by The Straits Times following a pet peacock attack on a three-year-old girl in Serangoon Garden, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Thursday (Dec 2) that members of the public are allowed to keep non-commercial poultry as pets - but only up to 10 of such animals.

These include chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, quails, partridges, pheasants, domestic pigeons, guinea fowl, swans and peacocks.

Ms Jessica Kwok, group director of community animal management at the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster under NParks, said: "These pets must be kept in a bird-proof cage, house or enclosure that consists of a fine wire mesh netting capable of preventing any contact with any bird, poultry or animal from outside the cage, house or enclosure; and a proper roof capable of preventing droppings, waste, feathers and other particles from any bird, poultry or animal from entering the cage, house or enclosure."

Those convicted of failing to comply with the Animals and Birds (Prevention of Avian Disease in Non-Commercial Poultry) Rules can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both.

Ms Kwok said on Wednesday that NParks is investigating the case of the three-year-old girl who needed stitches on her face after a pet peacock attacked her on Sunday.

The girl was on her way home from a playground at Haus Park in Serangoon Garden with her brother and father when she stopped outside a house to look at the peacock, her mother wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

The peacock is then said to have charged and attacked the girl.

Ms Kwok clarified on Thursday night that AVS did not inform the owners that they are not at fault, as investigations are ongoing.

"At the same time, we visited the owners' home today and observed that the peacock was caged in an enclosure, and have directed the owners that the bird is not allowed to roam outside its premises."

When ST visited the house on Thursday, a woman came to the gate and declined to comment, but confirmed that the family has been in touch with NParks and AVS.

Neighbours told ST that the peacock could often be seen on the road outside the house as the owners would leave the gate open, but they did not feel threatened by it.

They also said other fowl, including a turkey, were kept in the house.

One of the neighbours, a 54-year-old legal professional who declined to be named, said the owners had a pedestal for the peacock and it could sometimes be spotted perched on top of it, above the closed gate.

She said she has not seen or heard the peacock in the last two days.

While several neighbours ST spoke to said they had not heard of the peacock being aggressive before, ST is aware of at least two other incidents of peacock attack from that household.

In one of them, an undergraduate, who wished to be known only as Ms Koh, said she was attacked by a peacock in front of the house.

The 25-year-old told ST she was heading home after a morning walk in August last year when a peacock blocked the pavement. She said she had previously seen it walking outside the house.

"At the time I didn't know that peacocks attacked people so I just tried to walk around it, but it flew up and pecked my face with its beak. It knocked my glasses off and I fell down," said Ms Koh.

The peacock then ran into the house, but no one came out from the house to check on her, she said.

Ms Koh suffered a 1cm cut near her left eye and later filed a police report.

"It would be better if peacocks aren't allowed to be kept as pets. They are dangerous and it's torturing the animal to keep it in a cage," she said.

Ms Kwok confirmed that AVS is aware of the August 2020 incident and said it would be taken into consideration as part of its investigation.

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