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Unethical and unacceptable practices

Put a stop to animal abuse by irresponsible pet shop and farm owners
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - March 20, 2011
By: Adele Ong
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Unethical and unacceptable practices

Posing as prospective puppy buyers, members of seven welfare groups who went undercover to 35 pet farms and shops found that 33 of the places visited did not ask about their knowledge of puppy care, 27 would not let them view the parents of the puppies they were interested in, and not a single farm out of the 13 visited would help them apply for a dog licence.

Why does that matter to people who are serious about animal welfare?

For a start, responsible breeders and sellers of pets ought to talk to customers to find out how much experience they have with the kind of pet they want. People new to caring for pets need much more information and guidance before purchasing an animal.  Responsible breeders will even advise prospective new owners to think twice about buying a pet, if the customer does not know what he is getting into. Without such care taken, what is to stop someone from impulsively buying a pet because it is “cute”, then abandoning it once the novelty wears off?

Licensing dogs is another vital step in the chain of prevention of abandonment, abuse and other problems. Unlicensed dogs are not on the radar, and cannot be checked on, tracked or noted in records by authorities alert to the risks of growing stray populations and the threat of rabies. Pet businesses that readily help customers apply for an AVA licence for a puppy are acting responsibly, because they know that some customers will simply go away with the dog and never license it with the authorities.

As for viewing the parents of puppies born in puppy farms, that is important because responsible customers would not want to support any pet business that treats its animals badly, overbreeds them, or carelessly mates them to siblings or parents. If you do not see healthy, well-cared-for parents of puppies you buy, you could be helping an unethical farm to continue making profits at the expense of its breeding dogs.

Customers can make a real difference, so don’t be blind to the possibilities of hidden abuse behind that cute little puppy in the shop window.

The information about pet shops and farms used in this three-week series was provided by the SPCA, Action for Singapore Dogs, Acres, the Animal Lovers’ League, the House Rabbit Society Singapore, Noah’s Ark Cares and the Cat Welfare Society.

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