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Veteran paws (Source: MINDEF).

Trial scheme for dog handlers to rehome retired sniffer dogs in HDB flats to be permanent from 15 Aug

Under the pilot expansion of Project ADORE launched in June 2017, Dog handlers from the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force K-9 units, and the SAF Military Working Dog Unit (MWDU) were allowed to rehome retired sniffer dogs in HDB flats.

In a joint press release on Monday (13 August), the authorities stated that the pilot expansion of Project ADORE will be made a permanent scheme from 15 August 2018.

Project ADORE is co-led by the Ministry of National Development (MND), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), with the support of the Housing and Development Board (HDB), the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Animal Welfare Group partners under Project ADORE.

The ministries stated that thus far, a total of 14 sniffer dogs have been rehomed under this scheme.

"We will also expand the scheme to members of the public staying in HDB flats to adopt retired sniffer dogs, on a one-year pilot basis," the authorities stated, adding that this is to widen the pool of potential adopters beyond K-9 and MWDU officers.

Similar to the scheme for K-9 and MWDU officers, the authorities stated that the pilot expansion for the public will be subject to the same conditions in place for Project ADORE, which includes the screening of potential adopters, a framework to encourage community acceptance of the dogs (e.g. mediation channels for disputes), and measures to prevent abandonment of the dogs through microchipping.

"All adopters will be required to comply with the ownership conditions and the Code of Responsible Behaviour as set out by MND," the ministries stated, adding that the respective K-9 and MWDU units will also continue to manage post-adoption feedback.

Project ADORE was launched in 2012 with the intent of assessing the acceptance of mixed-breed dogs in HDB estates, with proper safeguards in place.

They noted that observations have shown that residents have been receptive to the presence of larger dog breeds in their neighbourhoods as long as the owners behaved responsibly and if there were proper channels in place for dispute mediation.

"The scheme has been well-received thus far," they noted.