SINGAPORE: Dog handlers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)'s K-9 units and the Singapore Armed Forces' Military Working Dog Unit (MWDU) who live in public housing will be allowed to adopt their retired canine friends from June, authorities announced on Tuesday (May 9).
In a joint news release, the Ministry of National Development (MND), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said that K-9 and MWDU dog handlers had expressed interest in adopting the service dogs after the animals were retired from service.
"They train and work with their dogs on a daily basis, have developed close bonds with them and are experienced in managing these well-trained dogs. These dogs have also contributed to Singapore’s safety and security while on active duty," authorities said.
However, as the dogs' sizes and breeds do not meet existing HDB regulations, dog handlers living in public housing flats were previously unable to adopt the retired service dogs.
Under a one-year pilot expansion of Project ADORE, a programme launched in 2012 to assess the acceptance of mixed-breed dogs in HDB estates, dog handlers will soon be able to do so.
The sniffer dog breeds include Labradors, English Springers, Cocker Spaniels and Pointers, according to the press release.
MND will review the pilot expansion after a year and assess whether to extend it to other types of service dogs, it added.
Channel NewsAsia understands that only dog handlers from the K-9 units and MWDU can adopt the retired dogs for now. Before this pilot initiative, the dogs could only be rehomed in private properties.
The same conditions in place for Project ADORE will also apply to the pilot expansion, including the screening of potential adopters, a framework to encourage community acceptance of the dogs such as mediation channels for disputes and measures to prevent abandonment of the dogs through the use of microchips.
All adopters will be required to comply with the ownership conditions and Code of Responsible Behaviour as set out by MND, authorities said.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said last week that the MWDU was looking for good homes for about 10 to 15 service dogs that were retiring.
"I think this pilot expansion of 'Project ADORE' by MND is a good start and the right and more sustainable approach for HDB homes – it ensures responsible owners and appropriate living conditions for these dogs as well as acceptance by the neighbours and community," he wrote in a separate post on Tuesday.