source: Tan Chuan-Jin on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 12:24pm

The saga over the stray dogs in Punggol has been very revealing.


Recently, these dogs in Punggol Waterway chased and attacked two joggers and chased another cyclist. The story of the lady jogger being bitten was reported widely in the media. One jogger had a deep bite at the ankle and over 20 scratches on the calf, another suffered four bites. They were administered tetanus shots, antibiotics and painkillers. They were also badly shaken by the incidents.


AVA has been tracking the situation and stepped up action to round up the stray dogs. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the correct action to take as safety of the public is paramount.


However, a number of animal lovers responded with hostility. Some of them questioned if the joggers’ accounts were true. Some blamed them for intruding into the dogs’ territories. Hate mail had been sent. Some called this a massacre and various false stories have been circulating.


Let’s be clear. When strays are rounded up, culling is not the default action. AVA has been working with the Animal Welfare Groups (AWG) on this. 12 dogs have been rounded up. 8 of them have been assessed to be aggressive and not suitable for re-homing, and have been humanely put down. I understand that one has been re-homed and another three up for re-homing.


We engaged external contractors to round up the dogs. The company is registered in Singapore and a number of their staff are Malaysians and their vehicle is approved for use in Singapore. Some seem to want to inject a nationalistic angle into this issue. But this is not the real issue, is it? A video had been circulating online about a pregnant stray feeder questioning these contractors. Her being pregnant seemed to have drawn some attention but again, it is not relevant is it? The couple in question were stray dog feeders and had been following the contractors for several hours. They were getting in the way of them doing their jobs. The Police was thus called in.


Feeding of strays in the area was obvious. Plastic bags of cooked meat were strewn around the grassy patches. A man driving a patisserie delivery van was seen throwing bags of food in the area. He said that he did it regularly. We are also concerned that dogs have been dumped in the area by errant owners.


We have been working actively with the AWGs to manage the issues on the ground. What has been clear to me is that there are many who are uncomfortable with animals as well and we have to respect those concerns. Our commitment is to ensure the well being of Singaporeans, and to also make sure that we treat all animals humanely and with care. 


Individuals have to decide what route they wish to take. Singaporeans have to also judge for themselves what they make of the tone and approach taken by many of these animal lovers. The volunteers in the AWGs have years of experience and deeply care for animals, as do many of our staff in AVA. They are all taking practical and concrete steps to improve the common space. Those of you who are keen to work on this, do step forward and join the AWGs to champion your concerns. 


Meanwhile, do contact ASD at 6100 2737 or email them at The pics below are of a year old male cross-breed, and a 3 years old female cross-breed. Do help them find a new and loving home in this new year!