Pet abandonment cases rose since 2017, half of which were cats: Tan Kiat How

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furry friends red cat and corgi dog walking in a summer meadow under the drops of warm rain
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SINGAPORE — Last year, there were 225 cases of alleged pet abandonment investigated by NParks, 10 more than the year before, said Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How in Parliament on Tuesday (1 March).

Tan also revealed that there were 180 such cases in 2017, 225 cases in 2018, and 230 cases in 2019. Of these cases over the five-year period, 11 persons were issued composition fines, 21 persons were sentenced in court and fined, and one was given a jail term.

Half of the cases that were investigated and half of the cases for which further action was taken involved cats.

"NParks investigates all feedback on alleged pet abandonment and will take enforcement action as appropriate. Individuals found guilty of pet abandonment can be charged under the Animals and Birds Act," said Tan.

First-time offenders can face a maximum fine of $10,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.

Tan was responding to a parliamentary query from Aljunied Member of Parliament Leon Perera, who asked, among others, for the number of pet abandonment cases in the last five years, and how many fines and jail terms have been issued.

Individuals prosecuted for pet abandonment last year included Nur Hajjar Osman, 35, who abandoned 16 cats in Punggol as she was unable to care for them. She was fined $4,000 and disqualified from owning any pets for a year.

Zariyah, 45, also abandoned four cats at a void deck of an HDB block after believing that her family might be infected with the COVID-19 virus through her pets. She was fined $4,000 and disqualified from owning pets for half a year

Tan noted that authorities have started a "comprehensive review" of the pet sector involving various stakeholders such as animal welfare groups, breeders and individual pet owners. The review is considering guidelines to raise standards of pet care and increased penalties for animal abuse, as well as licensing regimes.

Last July, the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS) started a second round of public consultation to seek feedback, after a review to raise the standards of animal health and welfare began in August 2019.

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