Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Animal Control - a different approach?

There were some comments in an earlier post about the AVA's functions that I found very interesting. Anonymous mentioned the model in San Francisco.

I was interested in finding out more about a model where Animal Control itself looked for alternative solutions, and I didn't have to look very far. In Baltimore, where I am at the moment, the situation with their animal control was dire in 2004:-

To the Dogs

There was bad publicity due to the usual problems - lack of funds, not being able to hire people who were interested in animal welfare, etc. All these sound pretty familiar and I think are also faced in Singapore by the AVA.

This is what they decided to do. The Animal control decided become a quasi-government entity - and a non-profit. This meant they were able to raise funds from the public and also to hire the sort of people they want. They were also able to get volunteers to help because people knew that they would be helping the animals.

This is the result a year later. Adoptions are up and killing rates are down. Obviously it is a little different in that they are able to pass animals to animal shelters, but simple things like opening the shelter on 6 days a week as opposed to one, helped to raise adoption ten-fold.

Unfortunately this does not mean that cats aren't killed at all or that TNRM is used primarily as a means to control the community cat population. The good thing is that they were willing to look for other solutions that would lead to less killing.

I'm trying to get more information to see if it is a possibility that may translate to Singapore.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I often wonder how the staff at AVA handle the emotions of watching literally every cat and dog that "steps" into its premises destined for the "gullotine". Or have they become so jaded that they don't care anymore to try and change the ways things "have always been done"?
I also wonder AVA rejected SPCA's request to view its "humanely euthanizing" procedure? Are there things occult here?

20/12/06 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... has some interesting articles

21/12/06 3:34 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yes Nathan Winograd has done great work!

21/12/06 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Straits Times
ST Forum
Sept 23, 2005

Animals have rights too, you know

I write in support of Liao Shuxin’s letter ‘Revise laws to prevent abuse to pets’ (ST Online Forum Sept 19).

Local legislation is inadequate and the lack of deterrent sentencing sends the wrong message of silent condonement, as demonstrated in the light sentencing in the Malamute case, and the Agro-food and Veterinary Authority letting the dog breeder off with a mere warning.

First World greatness is Singapore’s perennial goal in everything we do. We do have first-rate hardware. But it is the software that defines Singapore’s true progress.

Applying Mahatma Gandhi’s elegant barometer ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated’, Singapore’s treatment of animals clearly shows that the most important component of our nation’s greatness, compassion still languish in arrested development.

Singapore is among the best places for people to live in. Sadly, the same cannot be said for our animals.

Sometimes, it seems that animals are nothing more than convenient blame targets. Sars in 2003, the bird flu since 2004.

In reaction, the authorities have stepped up the culling of cats, dogs, even crows to assure the public that something is being done. This ‘cull first, talk later’ mentality only brings down stray animal population temporarily.

Killing our animals have neither solved the root causes of Sars nor bird flu, and do not address how health threats of such scale should be prevented.

In some First World countries, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is vested with law enforcement powers when dealing with animal abuse. Here, the SPCA only comes to mind when Singaporeans want to dispose of their unwanted pets.

In progressive societies, the welfare of all members must be considered. Animals are very much part of our society, enriching us with joy and intrinsic benefits.

Multitudes of research have shown that having pets helps lower blood pressure, teaches young children social skills, compassion, and prevents depression.

Other research have established the sinister link between animal abuse and sociopathy: intolerance, lack of compassion, family abuse, violent crimes, and murders.

Therefore, animal abuse has far-reaching implications beyond the concern of animal lovers.
To its credit, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority has started education campaigns on responsible pet ownership.

But animal abuse is more than just irresponsible pet ownership and Singapore cannot afford to wait for the fruits of AVA’s labour.

We need tough laws and tough enforcement to shore up the weak link in Singapore’s compassion.

We need to stem animal abuse now.

Animals. This is their world too!

Liew Yi Xui

21/12/06 11:16 PM  
Blogger Bird Advocate said...

I wish all of you who abhor the euthanization of feral cats would consider the lives of our native fauna it saves.
Trap, neuter, abandon enables the alien pests to kill again!

26/12/06 11:27 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

It's been shown that the main cause of wildlife being killed is people - forests that are being cleared, native animals that are being thrown out because their habitat is gone. Here's a recent article. If you've read some of the earlier discussions on this topic, there are links to articles that show that some bird species that are considered to be in the most danger are not in areas that cats inhabit and hence their disappearance has been shown to have nothing to do with cats.

In addition, what is your solution? Kill the cats? And then when new cats move in due to the vacuum effect kill them again? What of other birds that kill birds? Do we kill them too? Do we only decide certain animals are worth keeping? Whom decides?

I've always found it unusual that some bird advocates will ask for cats to be killed, just as I find it unusual that some people ask for stray dogs that attack cats to be killed. It doesn't work - and as people who love animals, one would hope that people would work for a non-violent solution to maintain all the animals, instead of killing some and killing others that we deem that we like less.

I think one thing you're overlooking is that TNRM is to maintain and control the cat population. That's something that everyone should be happy with as there will be less cats around. Killing has been shown to be unsuccessful.

27/12/06 1:10 AM  

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