NParks looks to improve pet sector, ranging from accreditation for service providers to improved animal traceability

The National Parks Board (NParks) will be reviewing and tightening the standards of the pet sector to better protect animal health and welfare said Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development at the Pets’ Day Out event on Saturday on (17 August).

It was announced that the board will collaborated with stakeholders in the pet industry including boarders and breeders to discuss various initiatives. These range from staff training to accreditation and licensing of service providers, improving animal traceability, and exploring pet Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled pet microchips.

As such, Ms Sun said that NPark wills be conducting focus groups with stakeholders – breeders, boarders, pet associations, and welfare groups – as well as running an online public consultation later this year. Results are expected to be shared next year.

The events at which Ms Sun was speaking at in Hortpark was the first of its kind with more to come every third Saturday of the month. It will be a space dedicated to the pet community where people can adopt pets, get free health checks and microchipping services for their furkids and which will include various education talks and workshops pertaining to pet care.

During her address, Ms Sun said, “Beyond such outreach events, we also want to work with our stakeholders and the wider community to shape solutions and policies related to pet issues.

“For instance, concerns about the varying standards and sometimes poor practices of pet breeders and boarders have come to our attention…it is timely for NParks to work with the pet industry to raise the standards of such service providers.”

One measure that would enable this is by providing accreditation to service providers and training staff, says Ms Sun. In Singapore, there are currently 25 licensed pet farms, but this doesn’t include businesses that do not operate on farm land.

Apart from that, NParks is also looking to improve animal traceability to better respond to possible spread of diseases. Improved tracing capabilities would also help owners find their missing pets.

At the moment, microchips used to tag dogs can only be read by a specific scanner. The NFC chips that NParks is looking into would enable any owners to quickly check their pets whereabouts via with mobile phone. The chip can also contain the owner information and clinical history of the animal.

This is especially significant given the incident in the beginning of this year when a shetland sheepdog named Prince was reported missing from the place it was boarded, the Platinum Dogs Club, while the owners were abroad. It was later discovered that the dog had died in the care of the boarding and was cremated without the owners knowledge.

Later in April, another dog died while boarded at Board N’ Play after a swimming incident. The latter case received backlash after it was reported that the company accepted tourists as volunteer carers for the animals.

Editor’s note: The last paragraph was removed as it was erroneous.

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