SINGAPORE - Under a new one-year scheme, members of the public can now adopt retired sniffer dogs from military, police and civil defence units and rehome them in Housing Board flats, the authorities said in a joint statement released on Monday (Aug 13).
This scheme comes under Project Adore, which was launched in 2012 with the intent of assessing the acceptance of mixed-breed dogs in HDB estates with proper safeguards in place.
The project 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.
The public will be able to adopt retired dogs from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force K-9 units, and the SAF Military Working Dog Unit.
Under the new initiative, more people will be allowed to provide a new home for retired dogs in their flats, which will widen the pool of potential adopters.
This pilot expansion will be subject to the same conditions in place for 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.
Previously, under another one-year pilot launched in June 2017, dog handlers from the relevant units were allowed to adopt and rehome the retired canines in their flats. The scheme has helped to rehome 14 sniffer dogs. This policy will be made permanent from Wednesday.
Prior to that, the three units worked closely with animal welfare groups to rehome retired dogs, mostly in private residences. Retired dogs that are not rehomed are taken care of by the units until the natural end of their lives.
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 were proper channels in place for dispute mediation.
Under Project Adore, HDB flat owners can adopt local mixed breed dogs weighing up to 15kg and 50cm tall, a slight increase from the toy breeds which 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 which includes ensuring their dogs do not cause nuisances to neighbours.
Acres founder and chief executive Louis Ng, who is also an MP for Nee Soon GRC, said: "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."
He added that it is the responsibility of the owners to ensure continuing acceptance by most people of larger dogs in flats.
"This is progress for the animal welfare movement here. It shows that the concerns that are raised by people are being addressed."