March 29, 2007

More puppies born

A month ago, I followed V on her rounds to get some updates on what's happening on the ground level, on what greets her everyday as she casts food to our strays, nourishing the street life with some dose of humanity, some dose of sentimentality. V has been travelling these self-same roads tending to the animals for the longest time we could imagine.

At J's farm, there are about six puppies. On my visit, the deserted farm I previously imagined came to life as beautiful, really beautiful puppies came bounding at the usual sound, the usual smell of brown rice mixed with kibbles and pieces of bread. A new litter of pups, a new ray of hope and promises to life, or another set of complexities of straywork?

I do not think I could ever look at them frivolously as cute puppies, devoid of any implications to welfare work, detached from the subjectivity we often grope along with, as we manage the packs and increasingly, make decisions of their existence -- should they be euthanized or kept alive? Or should we cast their destinies to the wind?

And the ONLY plan I have in mind is to leave them where they are and when they old enough, bring them to the vet to be sterilised. The neuter-return concept seems feasible now.

A close-up of one of the scurrying little ones.

Another sibling

Three of them found along the road, accompanied by an adult cream female and a few other black adult males expelled from the K's farm.

En-route, we met yet another litter. The worker at the farm had them caged as seen in the following picture. But that was Feb. 24. Today, about half of the puppies here have been taken away, allegedly to "someone who sells vegetables at the market." The worker refused to tell us where exactly the puppies had gone and the identity of the vegetable seller. He also became more hostile and told V not to feed the puppies anymore.

I believe there are a few still left at this farm and in any case, will see if it's possible to sterilise them once they reach the right age.

The puppies barking for attention as they rampaged in the spaces of the makeshift cages.

Specific to these litters, we are building our funds to neuter each and every one of these puppies as soon as they reach the right age. Within six months, they will be sexually mature and the females will most likely be pregnant, adding to the mulitplying effect of the stray population reality. Without any money, we won't be able to carry do this at all. We need your every support. There are at least ten puppies here.

Enquiries, email or call 9026-2733.

Five kittens left to die

On behalf of a welfare activist, here's an appeal:

Dear all,

Does anyone know of anybody who would be able to foster 5 kittens while the founder try to re-home them. They are currently still at a high human traffic area in town, the mother cat is no where in sight and the kittens aren't weaned yet.

It's either let them die there, send them to SPCA to be put down or we do our part in trying to find them a foster and homes. The founder is willing to sponsor food and pay for boarding, I believe.

If you know of any fosters, please kindly contact Michelle at 9225 1005.FYI, Michelle is unable to bring them home for family reasons. I have contacted at least 2 catterys and both are full. Please help pass this message on. Thanks.

March 28, 2007

Supplies that will help in straywork

It seems we're perpetually 'begging' for money -- donations to fund our dogs for boarding at shelters, medical bills, transport costs etc.

Was retrieving some updates from our caregivers, and they mentioned on the phone while they were out casting some food for some of our very human-wary stray dogs that they are in need of:

(1) Dog biscuits/kibbles and canfood: it doesn't matter if they're expired (as long as they don't smell rancid). The strayfeeders can't possibly feed the likes of Eukanuba or Timberwolf to our street dogs, so they make do with kind donations of expired food. And our hardy mongrels are able to consume them just as happily.

Some pet shops discard supplies as soon as they are expired. There could be a better system in collecting these food supplies for day-to-day straywork. If you happen to chat with pet shopkeepers, may we ask if you could keep in mind the commercially unwanted supplies that would serve to cut some costs for our strayfeeders.

(2) Plastic takeaway containers: You know the types that are used to store, say, takeaway tow huays? Well these come in handy for containing food and water for our strays too. It's doubly eco-friendly to recycle (containers washed and stored) and pass them to the strayfeeders for their daily operations.

Community support doesn't have to be derived from generous monetary input, but it can come in small ways such as recycling our plastic containers and keeping in mind how they'll all add some relief to the good work of our caregivers.

To support, do email

March 27, 2007

You sweat in the blazing sun...

.... fouled up your hands with animal waste and discharge, aching backs and dirty shoes, smells and sights of medications and clinical tools ... new dogs, scuffles, healing, sickness and deaths .... at the end of the day when the sun sets, you flop upon the couch ... lullabied by the deep rhythms of dog breaths ... weighted down by a furry bod pressed up tight against yours, heavy but so soothing .... the air so thick with the good odor of dogs that you can't even taste your own sweat.

Don't know about you, but at times, life sounds good like this. Simple. Yet so much more dense with meaning than a leather armchair and a golden tap.


In 2005, still learning my ways and making sense of the animal welfare 'industry', I brought Y to a condo apartment which was a rescue shelter for ten over cats and a few small dogs, after learning from that Bella was up for adoption.

We learnt that Bella was rescued in a state infested by mites, ticks and fleas, roaming as a motherless puppy, from a Bukit Panjang carpark. As the rescuers had too many on their hands and their vet predicted that Bella would be a huge dog judging from the size of her paws, she was put up for adoption. And Y adopted her. Surprisingly, Bella never grew to be as big as we all anticipated -- a small-to-medium sized dog, instead.

Bella, returned from her visit to the dog run, 2005.

Bella, Junior and Y at the dog run. Those were fun times.

Harmony: Kangkang (the cat) lazed about as he confidently watched Junior and Bella at mild play.

25 March 07, Bella to be hospitalised at the vet's.

Today, Bella passed away at the vet's as a result of renal failure. The vet informed renal problems are uncommon among young dogs. We will never know the true cause of Bella's renal failure -- it could be attributed to her diet, stress, dehydration or even poisoning. But if anything, I would like to stress the importance of dogcare, of constant monitoring and interaction with your pet dog, of (making the effort) to know your dog. A dog that refuses to eat or drink in a day or two should raise the red flag and alert you to immediate action. Bella was found with traces of blood on her gums that smelled of creatine and blood urea nitrogen.

I remember going to Y's house and coaxing Bella to move without my carrying her and remember how she did not resist but warmly stayed in my embrace as I held her in the car and carried her to the vet. How she was a calm fighter against the ravages of her illness and how she touched my life during those brief moments as a serene girl, a soulful being, her heartbeat warm against my body.

After six days of struggle, Bella was finally free from pain. She left us with wonderful memories as a sentient being capable of so much inspiration and sweetness, and a joyful family companion in Y's life.

Rest in peace, girl. You are in our hearts.

Just to add some more

pictures of the personalities who once survived the streets of Singapore with their own quirkiness, strong-headedness and courage that touched the lives of caregivers, workers and casual passerbys. And happily, they reside at NANAS, remembering the days they lived out their perils of street life and looking forward to a familiar figure, a familiar smell, a caregiver who connected with them in ways we'll never truly understand.

Coca (left): our very sturdy fellow. Greeted us with a generous dose of zeal, it's hard not to be enervated by his vigorous warm welcome.

Cola: sniffing a familiar hand. Slimmer than Coca, but they were an inseparable duo.

Max: a Rott-weiler cross. Because L's father couldn't keep him, he's been moved to NANAS and is quarantined in a kennel for the time-being. Recently sterilised.

Ranbo (right): He's one of the first batch of dogs V moved to NANAS in the earlier years. Doing just fine and certainly adjusted well as a deserving resident at the lodge. Known for keeping to himself at an alley far from the "mainstream" space of the lodge, he appeared in the midst of the canine carnival right at the front during our visit.

As many of our dogs are still unsponsored, we would like to appeal to all to lend a hand by contributing to their expenses at NANAS. It doesn't matter which dog you'd like to help, but if you've taken to any one of these lovely personalities and would like to contribute as a one-time donor or a regular sponsor, we'd be everlastingly grateful for your kindness. Enquiries, please feel free to email or leave a message at this post.

Thank you.

March 26, 2007

Had a heartwarming get-together

with our dogs at Nanas yesterday. The first 2 dogs we saw were Chance and Grey. Chance was pudgy and hot on such a hot and humid day. And Grey was as sweet as ever, her mange is still somewhat a condition (we were told it could be an immunity problem similar to some other dogs there) and she can afford to put on some fat. Hope she eats more.
Followed on we met Bicycle (funny fellow came bounding towards us when called, his stump of a tail wagging) , Charlie (still can't be let out of his kennel yet as he would get into fights with the other dogs and he still appears very wary and insecure even though he has been there for 1 year already), Billy and Ashley.
We couldn't locate the rest until our second round. Then we ran into Coca & Cola (our gangster brothers) snoozing in the other front hut - what a boisterous greeting from Coca, he was all over us! After which we had another boisterous greeting from Tiger before we located Wangi, Chantek and Summer in their back kennel. Wangi was still defensive and was barking us off. Chantek still appears untrusting of humans after being so violently abused. She was just cowering with her head held low throughout the time we were there. It was a sad sight to see an animal conditioned to be so fearful of men. Summer was looking mild and friendly but she also didn't make any attempt to come near us, just contented to lie still in her cool corner. As for Bloom, we couldn't locate her yesterday. Was told that she had been let out already. She must be hiding in a cool corner somewhere.
Abbie is fine with his pack, staying beyond the boundaries of Nanas. He paid us a visit with his pack when they came pretty near the fencing. The workers will attempt to trap him back.
We are sad to inform that Bongo, our dalmatian who was rescued together with Chance, had passed away from prostrate cancer last December.
We've some more photos, will update more later.

Ashley and Billy
Exuberant welcome from Tiger
An apprehensive Wangi with still a pretty traumatised Chantek. Summer is contented just lying in her cool corner.

March 23, 2007

Class 95's 1st Dog Walk - 1 April

BISHAN PARK 2 (near Dog Run)

0830 - 1000

Class 95 is gathering all dog owners for their very 1st Dog Walk! Organised in conjunction with the Singapore Kennel Club.

Bring your doggy pals down for a lovely Sunday morning walk. We might just see you there!

Looking forward, the next Dog Show from Singapore Kennel Club will be held on 29 April at the Expo. We will be there to further our educational reach together with other invited dog welfare organisations.

Take a look at the new section formed by the SKC - the SKC Companion Dog Section. Dog shows are not all about pedigree dogs and superbly intelligent obedience trial dogs who are a delight to watch. SKC's Companion Dog Section is a timely welcome and encouragement for ALL dog owners and ALL your dogs - regardless of breed, colour, size, shapes!

The objectives of the Companion Dog Section are:

1. To have dog owners engage their dogs in activities and to interact with other dogs and their owners.
2. To EDUCATE dog owners in a “fun” way and to inculcate values of responsible dog ownership.
3. To highlight that dogs can be trained and be involved in our society.

I think this is a positive step forward for the Club in reaching out and bringing together ALL dog owners in Singapore. Great changes and improvements to our standards of dog ownership can be effected by a strong group of dog owners, bonded by our perseverence to uplift dog ownership to a higher platform.

Singapore CAN be a model society in animal welfare. And you can play a part, especially when you already have a heart dedicated to the welfare of your very own pet. Bring this love further. Be part of a group of dog lovers, find strength in numbers, to direct our nation's directions in not just dog ownership, but responsible pet ownership, and even further, ANIMAL WELFARE as a whole.

Our earth is not just our own. Our space is not merely geographically ours. Be socially responsible. Take an active part in change. Postive change. And hey, have FUN while doing that!

SKC's Companion Dog Section

March 20, 2007

Ginger kitten for adoption

On behalf of a friend, we post this appeal. There is a ginger kitten up for adoption (among, sigh, our very many on the list of all welfare groups).

Just to pass the message along, pls see below:

Dear Friends,

I am posting this on behalf of my friend, Jules. She has a little cat in her care now. It is a two-month old ginger kitten. She's very very playful, manja and ok with dogs.

Because Jules already has a dog, she is unable to take care of the kitten for long term. The kitten was from given to her by a relative who can't handle it.

Please call me at 9048-1525 or reply to this email, if there are potential adopters for this beautiful kitten. She's a keeper when you see her.

Thank you. I hope to hear from you soon.

Warm regards,
Wei Ling

Blackie, "ambassador of love" adopted

Since not many might know about Blackie's fate, thought of sharing this piece of good news from local news publications. Blackie -- the pivot of HDB neighbourliness, the strength of Singaporean strength in unity.


26 February 2007
The New Paper
Copyright 2007, Singapore Press Holdings Limited

HOW far would an MP go for her constituents?Far enough to adopt a stray dog to keep her constituency happy.

Ms Lee Bee Wah, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: 'I don't have a dog. Since the residents have such a strong bonding with the dog, I'm willing to adopt it.'

She was responding to The New Paper report on Blackie on Chinese New Year's eve.

Ms Lee has received about 30 e-mail messages from the public after the story appeared, urging her to save Blackie, the stray mongrel, that has become a pet cause among residents of Yishun Street 81.

LIVING IN VOID DECK The 4-year-old dog had been living at the void deck of Block 825 for the past three years.

In that time, she became a friend to the children and other pets in the neigbourhood, a companion to the elderly, and provided solace to those who lost their loved ones.

The residents call her their 'ambassador of love'.

She had managed to do what any MP or grassroots leaders would hope to achieve: A common bond within the community, and harmony among neighbours.

But two weeks ago, someone alerted the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control (CAWC) of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) about Blackie.

When the CAWC officers tried to impound Blackie, they were stopped by some of the residents. If Blackie were impounded, she would have been put to sleep.

One group of residents were so determined to save Blackie that they gathered the signatures of 76 people living in 11 blocks in the estate to stop AVA from taking the dog away. Afraid that AVA officers would return for Blackie, resident Jimmy Ng decided to keep Blackie in his parent's kampung house at Lorong Buangkok, off Gerald Drive.

The residents then sought their MP's help to save Blackie.

Ms Lee said: 'I've received a lot of response not to kill Blackie. It'll be good to keep her.'

Nine readers have also written to The New Paper on Sunday after our report, telling us how they are touched by the unity of the residents.

Two of them have even offered to adopt Blackie.

A reader, who identified herself only as Bee Cheng, wrote: 'I am pleasantly surprised to see how a stray dog can foster bonding among people in a neighbourhood, regardless of race and religion.'
Dr Tan Chek Wee, from Geylang East, is touched by how Blackie has brought out the 'kampung spirit' among the residents. He even wrote an e-mail to Ms Lee.

HELP FOR BLACKIE RC chairman Sahul Hameed Kadir has since met some of the residents to discuss how to help Blackie.

Ms Lee said: 'There are always two camps - people who want to keep the dog and those who don't. We shall let the residents decide if they want the dog. Of course, we hope to find a win-win situation.'

When told of the last-resort possibility that their MP, who lives in Serangoon Gardens, may adopt Blackie, housewife Dulcie Lim, 59, said: 'That's good. Let her adopt! Tolong. I trust my MP, that she will take good care of Blackie. Serangoon Gardens would be a nice area for Blackie to live.


THANK you very much for doing a feature on Blackie. It was a lovely article.

I am not a dog lover, neither do I live in the estate mentioned.

But I strongly feel that Blackie should be allowed to remain in that estate.

From your report, many people hold the dog dear and value her presence in the neighbourhood as a source of joy and affection.

The Government is always holding meetings, forums and the like to find out how to build the 'HDB heartware'.

Sometimes, social ties depend not on pre-arranged functions and places for people to 'connect', but a common concern for someone or an animal that brings people together in unexpected ways.

Kindness and compassion - isn't that what we want to see in our people?
- Neo Kai Ling

IT was really touching to read the story on Blackie.

I really hope the dog will get to stay with the residents.

Our treatment of animals is a reflection of our society's progress.

I read the AVA's reply with great disappointment.

It is the same type of reply that I have read in other articles.

We are always talking about being innovative and inclusive, but do our actions show likewise?

Let's hope Blackie's case will change the lives of all strays in Singapore.

- Seah Bee Leng

THANK you for a wonderful report.

We are presented with many gifts in this little island, such as our fantastic 'hardware' (upgraded estates).

Yet I feel a sense of hollowness in the software as I see people looking glum or littering our public places.

Reading how Blackie has made alive the endangered 'kampung spirit', I feel a ray of hope for our future. I can only hope that the AVA will be more sympathetic in applying 'man-made' rules.

After all, Singapore has been rabies-free for 50 years, and there are also anti-rabies vaccines available for Blackie.

Blackie is gentle not just to humans but also to cats. She is indeed a good role model for some of our delinquents. I hope that the MP, Ms Lee Bee Wah, will keep this 'kampung spirit' going!

- Dr Tan Chek Wee

Pet abandonment?

As the case with Junior and Ginne comes to a close, the same old question we would pose to all animal police officers is surfaced to be debated. HOW DO YOU EVER PROVE SOMEONE HAS ABANDONED HIS PETS?

In my discussion with Mr Kannan from AVA, I was told that in his years serving with the centre, he has never received any official complaint or report on someone abandoning his pet. He mentioned that yes, people do write to the Straits Times' forum to talk about pet abandonment. But till date, there is no record of pet abandonment, or so he informed.

And if that's the case, why does AVA then launch full campaigns on responsible pet ownership explicit with the educational message for owners to take responsible ownership of their pets and NOT abandon them or shelve them away?

Surely, there must be very valid reasons why an organisation would even bother launching full campaigns on this. If it is not the official figure that there is NO pet abandonment in the records kept by the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control Division, then what is it? Are govt. campaigns then motivated by forces of subjectivity or abstraction, where it is hard to put your finger to something, but that you do know that this something exists, even though you have no numbers to back it up.

In this respect, isn't pet abandonment an issue roiled with subjectivity because animal-human relations is hardly objectively quantified and that pet abandonment, concretely speaking, is an act that can rarely be tangibly proven.

Say, a mother dumps her baby at someone else's doorsteps. There ARE people who know that the baby belongs to her. Based on the reasoning that there are witnesses to prove the baby belongs to the mother, and that the baby couldn't possibly walk itself to those doorsteps, the mother IS guilty for discarding her child. Of course, this is just a 'hypothetical' scenario.

Yet, for Junior's and Ginne's case, where there ARE people so dead-sure that they belonged to the family and that given a mere week, these two dogs couldn't traipse their way to the remotest part of the island on their own in one piece, why then is it so hard to see the direct link between two abandoned dogs and a family thay once owned them? Is it hard to (re)think logically and humanly?

I've heard enough of pet abandonment cases: owners tethering their dogs to trees and driving away, owners releasing pet rabbits into the wild from pet carriers, owners dumping pet dogs at construction sites in the middle of the night, people strategically placing a box of kittens at the doorsteps of caregivers and fosters in the silence of the night.

Unless every corner of the world is installed with a CCTV, there is no way anyone can record the entire motion of someone releasing his dogs into the wild and driving away. Even if it's a captured picture, the image fails to show the entire sequence of dumping. Even if there are eye witnesses, the defendant could say they are lying. Even if the dog is microchipped (and microchips are known for their traceability in tracking errant dog owners), the owner could just say "My dog ran away." Pet abandonment is riddled with so much subjectivity that I find it hard to pin "evidences" to a real-life case. And if so, what evidence do I need?

Junior expresses her love with affectionate mouthing. I'm sure the owner knows that.

Ginne is a real beauty and has a penchant for guy owners.

As hard as we had worked to render as much justice to these two dogs who were left out in the cold during the monsoon season and were subject to culling, road dangers, starvation and poisoning (Ginne could have been put down had we missed a day), I cannot come full circle in forgiving myself for my "miscalculation" in having them adopted to the family.

But with good faith, I believe justice will prevail for the dedicated, the faithful and the kind. If you'd like to improve the lives of Junior and Ginne, and fill up the lapse that a well-deserved justice did not quite fill, pls email

We are in need of funding for their lodging and medical expenses. And in need of hope to carry us through even tougher times.

March 19, 2007

I will never get used

to putting dogs to sleep, no matter what the conditions are.

We were told few days back to go pick up 2 small pups from a farm cos they had been a nuisance, peeing and pooing everywhere and no one is willing to clean up after them. Being a farm open to the public poses additional inconveniences to customers who visit. There are already a number of adult dogs on the farm.

We went down this morning, prepared with a cage to hold 2 small pups. However, we realised that all along, the farm worker was referring to 2 not so young pups (about 4 months) who had come from another farm across the road. These 2 gals were very friendly but the farm owner had given instructions to remove them from the farm.

So, there we were. Always I realise, the same scenario replays: we go there with the resolve to remove the pups, but each time, upon encountering the pups, when they come up to you to nuzzle and be stroked, the same question arose - what do we do now?

We asked ourselves the same question: What do we do now? (even though we know full well what we came down for) Where should we bring these 2 to? Should we attempt to rehome them? (when we have more awaiting homes) Should we board them at ALL? (how would we support their boarding fees for the rest of their lives?) Should we leave them where they are? (the management has informed few times to remove them).

They have to be put to sleep. I came with that knowledge. But executing it is never easy.

So I procrastinated. We drove them to Dr T, hoping to hear otherwise that our decision could be wrong. On our way there, they made themselves comfortable on my lap, snuggling close. I hated it. It was cruelly ironical.

These 2 were infested with dog lice. They were crawling all over their faces. It is good to know that dog lice post no threat to humans cos quite a few crawled onto my hands. Due to the lice infestation, their fur was very dry and they had dry, bloody scabs all over their bodies. One of them was very thin (probably anaemic from the blood-sucking lice) and the other was diagnosed with severe jaundice. Her gums and eyes were all yellowish. If left untreated, her liver wuld fail and she would eventually die.

If you can put it this way, their bad health condition gave us the courage to do what we came for - to put them to sleep. As Dr T said, when their health is poor, it is better to put them to sleep and concentrate on the healthier ones. Please don't ask me how I could do that. Not unless you can come forward and take full ownership of the many more pups who will need to be put to sleep. It was the choice taken in a sea of homeless dogs waiting their turns to be adopted, and a sea of strays hoping their turn to be culled never comes.

I had wanted to post their photos but that feels so strange right now. Maybe I will in a few days time.

* We really do not wish to do this anymore, and the only way to stop/reduce this is to carry on sterilising as many as we can catch. We need your support to build up our funds to pay for the sterilisation expenses. Pls email us at on how you can help us. Thank you.

March 15, 2007

Some things are near impossible

on a single or even a cluster of welfare societies level. A nation-wide issue requires a nation-wide resolution. At one fell swop, a big task can be accomplished. If we want to. Tasks that have been tackled in the same way for the past 20 years can be put to an end. If we want to. If we accord it enough attention and priority.

Will we still be talking about the very same plight in year 2027? I certainly hope not.

It will be very enlightening to compile the life stories of our band of stray feeders and volunteers on the road - find out the number of hours they spend every week, the expenses they incur from their own pockets, the episodes they encounter, the number of lives they have saved or seen die - the relatively small group of fellow citizens out there who are steadfast in their BELIEF - that where a life can be saved, it should be saved. Who have already seen, way back, that culling does not resolve the issue of our stray population.

We have been culling animals for the past 20 years.

But we alone are not able to contain a problem that is churning more speedily than we can pursue, litters being birthed every other month somewhere on the island. In the next few days, another litter of pups will have to be brought to the SPCA - hopefully some will be rehomed, but in actuality, most will be put to sleep.

It is a dreaded task. But someone has got to do it.

I guess it all boils down to priority.

Strays pepper our streets, farms, construction sites. Are they so different from our home pets? Or is the value of life measured by geography?

March 15, 2007
Give cat-rehabilitation scheme a chance

I REFER to the letter, 'Active citizenry? Bring back cat-rehab scheme' (ST, March 9), by Dr Tan Chek Wee.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) agrees wholeheartedly with Dr Tan that the Government should reconsider this approach.

In fact, the SPCA had written repeatedly to the Ministry of National Development to ask that this worthwhile scheme be reinstated.

Sterilisation gets to the root cause of the overpopulation problem by eliminating breeding while allowing the cats to live out their lives.

For many years now, the SPCA has promoted sterilisation as an effective method of reducing the stray-cat population. Since 1991, our voucher programme for stray-cat sterilisation has translated into thousands of cases of surgery on stray cats being sponsored by the SPCA.
Over the years, our monthly budget has more than doubled. With the special rates granted to our organisation by participating veterinary clinics (whose kind assistance we are very grateful for), we are able to sponsor the cost of approximately 140 operations every month. We thank our donors whose funding has made this possible.

The contribution by cat caregivers in looking after the cats and arranging transportation to and from the clinics is to be applauded.

We are encouraged to read in Dr Tan's letter that the number of tipped-ear community cats appears to be increasing. But with 13,000 cats destroyed in Singapore annually (pause and think: on average, as you are reading this: 35 cats are being killed today, and then everyday for the year) , what is yet to be achieved is considerable. And it is only with the Government's help that we can solve the problem satisfactorily.

We encourage citizens to write to the Ministry of National Development in support of sterilisation, the more humane way to reduce our stray population.

For more information on the SPCA's voucher programme for strays, visit
Deirdre Moss (Ms)
Executive Officer
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

March 9, 2007
Active citizenry? Bring back cat-rehab scheme

MY WORK as a doctor in a home-care medical team takes me to many parts of the island.
In every estate, I chance up community cats with part of the left ear cut off surgically. This is called a tipped ear and symbolises not only that the cats have been sterilised but, more significantly, also that it is a result of the active citizenry the Government has been trying very hard to inculcate.

It is my impression that the number of tipped-ear community cats is increasing. This is a sign that there are those among us who, instead of complaining, believe so strongly in a cause that they are willing to spend time and their own money trapping community cats to take to the vets for sterilisation.

They strongly believe that killing 13,000 cats every year for more than 20 years - with no decrease in the cat population - is not in keeping with a society that strives also to be spiritually rich in compassion.

I hope the Government will keep this spirit of active citizenry going by reinstating the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme that was terminated abruptly in 2003.

Dr Lou Ek Hee, head of the Animal Welfare Section at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), wrote in his article, 'Stray cat sterilisation project at Bukit Merah View' (published on the Singapore Veterinary Association website at

'Sterilisation and responsible management has the support of up to 96 per cent of the public. The majority of people want cats controlled but do not want them culled. They are happy to know that AVA's present approach to the stray-cat situation emphasises humane management and is targeted towards achieving long-term results.

'Sterilisation and responsible management is humane and helps to promote a kinder and more caring and gracious society.

'It promotes volunteerism and encourages both animal lovers and the people bothered by cats to be active in a constructive and self-help manner, working with the authorities to deal with the stray-cat situation.'

Instead of ceaselessly killing cats at the AVA, why not sterilise them? It will be more cost-effective in the long run.

Dr Tan Chek Wee

March 14, 2007

We are planning to visit our dogs at Noah's Ark

in the next few weekends. Been a while since we have seen them. Between us and amidst our schedules, we hope to visit them at least once a quarter.

We currently have 14 dogs at Noah's Ark. Introducing them again:

1. Bicycle - cast out onto the streets by owner, guardian of his heartless owner's bicycle
2. Coca - gangster of JK [sponsored for 1 year]
3. Cola - gangster of JK (Coca's brother) [sponsored for 1 year]
4. Charlie - adopted and then given up
5. Chance - neglected Lab, locked up in kennel
6. Bongo - neglected Dalmatian, locked up in kennel
7. Wangi - wild gal with canine venereal disease, treated
8. Chantek - Wangi's daughter, violently abused by carer
9. Bloom - pregnant gal of JK, aborted
10. Billy - mangey boy of JK
11. Ashley - mangey gal of JK [sponsored for 1 year]
12. Grey - mangey gal of JK
13. Summer - sweet gal of JK
14. Tiger - Romeo's gal. Romeo has since passed on from suspected heartworm/tickfever

Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a sponsor for each of our dogs there. Many of them have been at Noah's Ark since March 2006 and regrettably, we have not been able to sustain their monthly expenses at Noah's Ark.

Pls see the below link on the sponsorship for 1 dog at Noah's Ark which is $35/month/dog. Cheques are to be made payable to NOAH'S ARK LODGE and first mailed to us so that we can record all sponsorships for our dogs. We will then pass the cheques on to Noah's Ark.

Please email us at for more details on mailing address and also to let us know which dog you'll like to sponsor.

On behalf of our dogs, we can only say THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts.

Help find Ruby a good home by end of this month.

Our sweetie Ruby has developed some rashes on her fore and hind quarters. Poor girl been scratching more than usual and her fur is falling out. Her fosterer will be bringing her to Dr R this few days to resolve that skin condition.

Our gal has opened up her heart to L and her family, getting cheeky and playful, at times 'calling' L to play with her, by 'calling', we mean 'mouthing'. And she is getting very attached to L, whining for her when she disappears in the house for too long.

I'm happy for Ruby where she is now. However, some good things do have to come to an end.

L will be going back overseas by end March, thus Ruby's time with L will also end then. It is always a dilemma - picking up needy strays off the streets, bringing them into the comforts of our homes, and then when the time comes -- there may be a need to place them in boarding kennels.

For Ruby, we are confident that she will make a wonderful family friend. Of cos, like most dogs, there will be a period in their juvenile year where discipline is required, the extent of it varying from each dog to the other.

We do not look forward to the eventuality of a boarding facility for Ruby cos she has good potential to be rehomed. Thus, please help us look out for a good home or a good foster family in the interim.

Ruby is an easy-going gal. Loves to play and yet easily contented to mull over her own toys for a stretch of time. She awaits her new home now.
Please contact us at or 9090-8592/9026-2733. Help Ruby find a good home before the end of this month. If you would like to contribute to her medical bills (which we estimate to be not more than $100), please contact us as well. Your donation can be made as a cheque payment directly to the clinic and the original receipt will be mailed to you. Pls contact us for more details.
THANK YOU in advance!

Cucurbita ficifolia

Or, in simple English: Sharks Fin Melon. Or in Mandarin: Yu Chi Gua.

Sharing some pictures from another blogger. This is Sharks Fin Melon salad and Sharks Fin Melon with Wolf Berries soup. According to the blogger: "Shark Fin activists should use this as the ideal substitute for actual Sharks Fin Soup as it makes a more gentle and persuasive alternative for food lovers than the usual shock tactics (which simply does not work on us)."

So, next time you think of Sharks Fins soup, think Yu Chi Gua.

Call to stop serving shark's fin

* Take a stand and forgo that bowl of sharks fins the next time it is served. I fully understand if you still feel that 'pinch' hey, that is the most expensive can I not eat?? Or, hey this is a wedding banquet, how come no sharks fins? Wasted my ang bao lei? Oh, so it boils down to money, does it? Are you aiming to eat your money worth at every meal? And are we falling for other people's qualification of which dish is of 'highest value'?

Why do we keep on walking like the rest. Stand apart from the herd. Dare to be bold in declaring your beliefs. So what if there are snickers and rolling eyes? What are principles to uphold if you walk the same way as the rest of the unknowing world?

Build on your principles. Embrace them. Let people SEE what you proclaim you believe.

Trust me. It is NOT the sharks fins that make that soupy bowl yummy. It's all the other ingredients like crab meat, prawns, spices etc... We served FAKE sharks fins to our friends over Chinese New Year. And guess what...even after the 2nd bowl, no one knows it is FAKE.

There was NO sharks fins in there at all. ZERO. Instead, a melon called Sharks Fin Melon. Did the trick.

BEIJING: 14 March 2007, ST

China should take shark's fin dishes off the menu for foreign visitors before the 2008 Olympic Games, a lawmaker said yesterday.
Officials in China traditionally honour distinguished guests with huge banquets climaxing with rare or exotic delicacies like bear's paw, monkey brains and shark's fin.
Mr Xu Hongzhi, deputy to the National People's Congress and president of the prestigious Peking University, said such menu items might upset foreign guests.
'Serving shark's fin to foreign guests during the Olympic Games could greatly hurt China's national image and officials should start to remove the dish from the dining table right now,' he told Xinhua news agency.

March 13, 2007

Pet abuse case leads to family rift

MUCH has been said about the dog being man's best friend, but it seems all bets are off when a dog bites a man's fiancee. In this case, the man retaliated by hitting the dog - which belonged to his fiancee's brother - with a broken pole.

And because the owner and the victim are siblings, it blew up into a big family row.
Sales manager Pam Teck Soon, 31, ended up sentenced yesterday to a week in jail and was fined $3,000.

He had been reported to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) by the Siberian Husky's owner, Mr Jason Ong, 30, for hitting it with a broken bamboo pole.

Pam is the fiance of Mr Ong's sister, Miss Janice Ong, 31. Miss Ong recounted yesterday that, on Feb 20 last year, the couple were at her parents' home in Westwood Crescent in Jurong West. Pam was sitting with two friends on a bench opposite the house when Miss Ong was bitten while feeding the dog, Chewie, at the car porch.

'I tried to pull back my hand and when Chewie released it, I rushed to clean the wound. I broke out in a cold sweat and then I felt faint,' said Miss Ong. Pam, who had heard her screams, decided to teach the dog a lesson. It was leashed to a grille and he struck it with the bamboo pole.

As a result, Chewie suffered a fracture on its left front paw. After it was operated on, it was put on painkillers and needed several months to get better.

The court was told the beating had been so severe, the dog howled in pain and neighbours had to shout at Pam to get him to stop.

AVA prosecuting officer Yap Teck Chuan said: 'Throughout the beating, the dog was tied to a grille and at the mercy of the accused without any way of defending itself... This is cruelty at its extreme.'

District Judge Bala Reddy, sentencing Pam. said the beating was not premeditated as the dog had bitten the hand of the accused's girlfriend. However, the judge added, the accused's use of excessive force was widely disproportionate to what the dog did.

The court heard that, as part of his rehabilitation, Pam had been ordered to attend a training session with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to understand animal behaviour.

During mitigation, Pam's lawyer, Mr Peter Low, said his client had paid about $2,400 in instalments towards the dog's medical fees. Because he was late with one payment, Mr Ong lodged his complaint with the AVA - about four months after the incident.

Mr Low added that the dog had bitten Mr Ong's mother before. Pleading for leniency for his client, he said the incident has already caused a rift within the Ong family.

Speaking to reporters in court, Miss Ong, who struggled to hold back tears, said to keep the peace at home, she stayed away from the reunion dinner before Chinese New Year. It was the first time she had had to miss it.

She said she has not spoken to her brother since he complained to the authorities about her fiance, and the issue was one reason why she has moved out of the house.

March 10, 2007

Doby happily

remains at his foster's home this time, as his foster family, despite the rigours of embracing the challenge that is our dear Doby, has decided to keep him, granting him a second chance in life and granting life a sea of possibilities, just like how they've been open to the antics Doby brings, open to the idea that despite his bad habits, Doby is a just a dog, a playful dog.

I paid a visit to Doby today and a two-hour assessment of him has made me realise that Doby is just an innocent dog with a wild(er) streak in him. Nearing adulthood, our boy is still on the self-defensive mode of things, a little wary, a little skittish, a little intimidated and a little mischievous.

I think of the times when he, along with his siblings, was trapped in a drain during the rainy season, when they were just scuttling little babies that whined at everything, being born from a mother who was not equipped with motherly instincts.

To improve his behaviour and better harmonize him with the rest of the family, Doby will soon go through obedience training. Sometimes, we might never like to humanize our dogs, but a reconciliation between "nature" and the civility of humans is so necessary, when the wilderness is no long-term home for dogs.

If you'd like to know more about Doby, contribute to the fees of his foster care or find an adoptive family for him, feel free to email us at

Having visited Doby today, I have to say whoever comes along to bring him home HAS TO HAVE experience with local dogs before, and must be equipped with a fair measure of patience and tolerance to embrace the challenge that is Doby.

Doby may be naughty, but he is just a dog learning to understand the world.

Surprisingly, Doby is just medium-sized.

Doby and Lucas during a pet fair at a park. The adoption event did not yield any chance of finding an adoptive family. Lucas has been adopted, but we will persevere for Doby.

Also, to all whom I've emailed in appealing for a last-minute foster for Doby, I apologise if you've rushed yourself in securing contacts and forwarding them to me. Doby is in safe hands and will be in safe hands.
Thank you so much for your help.

March 7, 2007


to find a foster for Doby.

At nine months old, Doby is smacked right in pubescent boisterousness and rebelliousness. Just like your average teenage kid.

From an adoptive family that tied him almost 24/7 indoors and deprived him of all decent forms of human and dog socialisation, Doby has changed dramatically into a puppy capable of listening to commands and giving you his love and joy for life.

We are only thankful for the wonderful rehabilitative work our foster has done for Doby, taming his wild streak and mellowing down his rambunctiousness.

However, as I write this, I am pained to say that Doby cannot or should not stay at his foster's anymore, as because of his teenage rebelliousness and size, he has increasingly outsized and outpowered the resident Pomeranian-cross and Maltese. For the welfare of the other two dogs, there is a need to separate the small dogs from Doby's strength and tendency to challenge and test mutual canine domination.

We will move Doby out of the home this Saturday. And this gives me a few days to source for a foster home where the possibility of him unlearning his acquired good habits is (much) lower. As I speak, our boy is entertaining himself with a rubber soccer ball on the sofa, oblivious to the impending move, oblivious to the strength that could be destructive to the harmony with his smaller friends.

I am really hoping for a foster to come along, however last-minute this is.

J, thank you so much for taking care of him for these past months. The anger, the exasperation, the joy, the tears... I apologise for all the "misfortunes" he has caused and all the trouble that came your way ever since you decided to take in Doby.

If you'd like to know more or help Doby in carving out a better destiny for him, feel free to contact us at 9026-2733 or email

March 1, 2007

Ruby under foster care

Ruby at foster home. Tiny, but she will grow.

Crouching stance: Ruby prepared to bolt and prance about the garden.

Perched: somehow, our gal found her way to the narrow space on top of the car seats.

Feb. 28, 2007.

We brought Ruby from the vet's to a foster home where she'll be taken care of and begin a life of domesticity. From the rubbish dump of the workers' quarters to a duplex with a nice lawn adorned with a koi pond and shrubs: Ruby is making progress.


And we are grateful that L has stepped forward to offer her experiences with fostering dogs and a decent shelter where Ruby will no longer worry about foraginig for food or risk being hurled into a rubbish chute, just because, she was hungry.

Our caregiver informed that when Ruby was first discovered, she was about three weeks old and in an emaciated state -- unpromising for a puppy. Ruby disappeared for a few weeks and all hopes in seeing her, let alone rescuing her, were dashed. By a stroke of luck, she reappeared some time later, much grown up, in the midst of construction workers who were shooing her away while they ate their meals.

Ruby is about four to five months old, sterilised and microchipped. Rather than merely "meek" -- as we came to realise -- she's perhaps lower in the pack order. But combined with her ultra-sweetness, her puppy-playfulness is a joy to behold. Ruby makes your heart go soft.

Because she has every potential to be a perfect family companion, we are looking for a good family for Ruby. Ultimately, we believe she should go to a good home.

Also, if you'd like to contribute to maintaining Ruby's daily well-being, please email

Donations will be channelled to Ruby's medical fees and costs for her foster care. For those who have enquired about Ruby and contributed to part of the costs for the rescue and rehabilitation work, we thank you for opening your heart to the possibility of Ruby's spiriting transformation that is lighting up hope in the eyes of all dog activists.