SINGAPORE: By the end of this year, owners of sterilised dogs will only need to apply for a licence once throughout the life of their pet, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Sun Xueling on Wednesday (Mar 4).
The new scheme, aimed at encouraging more pet owners to license their dogs, will replace the three-year licensing option, and cost S$35.
Options for one-year or two-year licences will still be available to provide flexibility to owners, as some dogs may be very old or in critical condition, the National Parks Board (NParks) explained in a media factsheet.
Pet dogs which are licensed are microchipped and owners have to provide important details such as the place of residence, NParks said, as part of measures to ensure the traceability of animals.
“A robust animal traceability system is critical in protecting public and animal health,” said Ms Sun in her Committee of Supply speech.
“In the event a pet is diagnosed with an infectious disease, especially one which can be transmitted to humans such as rabies, it is important to be able to trace its whereabouts and health status.”
Owners who opt for the one-time licence instead of an annual licence could save more than S$800 in licence fees over 10 years, she said.
For existing owners with three-year licences for sterilised dogs, their licences will automatically be changed to a one-time licence.
IMPROVING PET SECTOR REGULATIONS
NParks will step up its enforcement efforts against those who operate a commercial breeding facility without a licence, said Ms Sun.
Currently, only commercial breeders and boarders on farmland are licensed.
For existing commercial breeding facilities on farmland, license conditions in areas such as housing and management, healthcare, and traceability of the animals will be strengthened.
The agency also intends to license commercial pet boarding facilities based on the scale of their operations, she added.
Those who help board animals for family and friends will not be subject to licensing.
More details will be announced later this year.
DEVELOPING THE VETERINARY INDUSTRY
Ms Sun said that the government is also looking at raising the standards of the veterinary industry.
Pet ownership has seen a 10 per cent increase over the past three years, NParks said. And with it, there has been a corresponding increase in the demand for veterinary care.
The Animal & Veterinary Service will engage key stakeholders, including the Singapore Vet Association, institutes of higher learning and the vet community in April this year.
In response to non-constituency Member of Parliament Daniel Goh and Member of Parliament Louis Ng's questions on whether rules on cat ownership in HDB flats will be changed, Ms Sun said that the Housing and Development Board will work with NParks to review and update its pet ownership policies.
"We are continuing to have conversations around how to best strike a balance between residents who are pet lovers, those who are not and those who are concerned about disamenities."