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Puppy Mills & Abuse

Friday, November 12, 2010
Writing this blog post was on the spur of the moment and I did not expect it to be this long. It's extremely wordy (compared to my usual posts) but writing it made me cry.
Please take the time to read it.

In July numerous animal welfare groups such as Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) met with officials from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore to try and appeal for a stronger stance by the government on the unethical running of puppy mills in Singapore.

It's pathetic how in Singapore we have such tough laws on everything from chewing gum to drug abuse, but no one gives a shit about animals.

In Singapore there are virtually no regulations on being puppy breeder. You can rent a space and ta-dah! Registration without needing to be a qualified individual with no background checks done by the AVA, nor are there surprise checks to ensure the quality of these puppy farms.

Many of these puppy mills outrightly mistreat the dogs because all they care about are profits. These puppies are sold to unsuspecting individuals or pet shops, a lot of which DO NOT CARE either. A lot of pet shops work hand in hand with puppy mills to maximise profits.

This happens all over the world, Singapore included. Not too long ago there was the case about the puppy mill in Pasir Ris, where the owner (totally unqualified and was merely renting a space) decided to quit the business, leaving behind 75 dogs that were grossly malnourished and mistreated, with massive skin problems. Despite being rescued and cared for by volunteers, a few dogs have died from the mistreatment they suffered their whole lives.

The photos below are from the Pasir Ris puppy mill, and not some faraway foreign country where you can pretend that nothing you do affects or helps the situation.






Dogs at puppy farms aren't given proper food, care or even time to rest in between breeding. Even if the dog is so weak and malnourished that she cannot stand, it does not matter to the breeder because she can still give birth. The breeder will leave her lying in filth with open wounds as long as she can still churn out little puppies for sale, and once the dog is too old and destroyed by breeding, she is abandoned or left to die.

I know that buying a cute little pedigree puppy from a pet store can be a status thing too. It says to everyone- "Look at me! I can afford this cute $2000 puppy." Well, CONGRATS. All you did was give some screwed up person out there $2000 to expand his business where he can squeeze every last drop of life out of an innocent animal.

For every pet that you want, there are farms for it - kitten mills, guinea pig mill, rabbit mills etc.

Animal welfare groups in Singapore such as the SPCA, the Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Cat Welfare Society (CWS) and House Rabbit Society of Singapore (HRSS) all have animals up for adoption. Why do you need to BUY a dog/cat when there are so many homeless ones? If you're the sort that really cares about things like it being a purebred and etc, well they have lots of those too.

At the SPCA and ASD for example, you can find shitzus, huskies, jack russells and so on...
SPCA Adoption Page
ASD Adoption Page

If you can adopt a mongrel or an older dog, that's even better. Just because the dog is not "perfect" or not young, does not mean it won't love you unconditionally.

"To you, it's just a dog. But to the dog, you are everything."

I don't really have any advice for people who insist on buying dogs. At most I've heard that you can buy a dog from individual home sellers who may do it just out of a hobby or happen to have a dog that had puppies. These are actually pretty good because you get to see the environment the mother lives in, how she behaves and etc so you can have a better feel of the puppy you're getting. But at the same time, apparently some of these backyard breeders treat their dogs just as badly. All in all, the most important remains to check beforehand how the breeder treats the dogs. Do you really want to buy from someone who tortures animals?

I was looking around on ASD's website as well, which features individual stories about abused/abandoned dogs rescued from horrifying conditions that have recovered and are now up for adoption to a loving and caring home. They even have a category for dogs that have suffered so greatly that they need intensive care and attention from volunteers and cannot be adopted out at all.
A Cry For Help (click on individual dog photos for the full story)

It's just terrifying that people out there can be so cruel. How can you do this to something that can't cry even cry out in pain or turn anywhere for help? How can you do this to something that has NO CHOICE but to suffer in complete silence?

And all of this is happening in our very own sunny Singapore; where people never want to get involved in anything, "because it's none of my business".

This is Pammy. She was abandoned and found the day after Christmas with her body covered in smelly sores oozing pus. Look at her now that she's recovered! The most amazing thing about dogs is their ability to love again despite all the horror they've been through. It may take them some time, but when you try to show them some love, they open up their heart to you all over again.

And this is Sheila. She was locked in an abandoned house. Neighbours testified that the old owners had a dog and had moved out 6 months ago. The owners knowingly left the dog to die. If they did not want her anymore, they could have given her to the SPCA or even abandoned her, where she might actually have a chance to survive. Instead they actually locked her there, which would mean they know full well that the dog will just die a slow and very painful death from starvation. Some neighbours even mentioned having seen the old owners come by once in a while to the house. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?! They actively watch another living thing suffer so greatly and don't feel a thing!

This is from SPCA's September Cruelty Investigations Report:

"On the 6th of September, the SPCA also received another report of a puppy being caged all the time. Upon investigations, we were shocked to see a Golden Retriever puppy, roughly 6 months of age, squeezed into a one metre by half metre rabbit cage. The puppy was unable to stand or even sit without having to crouch. We spent about an hour taking to the owners, insisting that the dog be kept in a bigger area. The owners refused as the unit is too small and there is no space for the dog. We also persuaded the owners to re-home the dog if they do not have the means to keep such a big dog. The young owner insisted that he ‘loves big breeds’ and refuses to see reason. His mother’s response to the situation was very disturbing as she ‘assured’ the officers that once the dog reaches adulthood, her son would not want to keep the dog anymore. The case has been referred to the AVA and investigations are still pending."

The Singapore government's stance on animal abuse (OR COMPLETE LACK OF) is appalling.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone who is found guilty of such an offence including abandonment of any animal, can be imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined up to $10,000, or both.

Most of the time the animal abuser gets away with a pathetic fine or at most a few weeks of imprisonment if the case is more severe (and especially if it has public and media attention). Any person that is able to abuse another living thing that is unable to cry for help is an extremely horrifying problem. I don't understand how these people can get away so lightly with it when it shows a complete lack of humanity on their part.

To me animal abuse warrants the same amount of attention as human abuse (child/elder/spousal etc) due to the fact that animals cannot seek help or even cry in pain, and that it will most likely never be discovered, such as how child abuse can be spotted by a teacher or neighbours (of course severe cases of child/elder/etc abuse exist as well in which they were honestly not treated very differently from animals). Animals are so incredibly innocent!

Of course you can never actually conclude which kind of abuse is more inhumane, but at the very least, animal abuse deserves WAY MORE attention than it has been given now. How many of us don't know of a friend or a relative that keeps its dog in a small cage all day? But most people won't do anything about it, and the government doesn't care either.

The other day a friend of mine called the SPCA after waiting a year to report the conditions that his neighbour's dog was kept in. As highlighted in the SPCA's report, investigations require the AVA to react and look into the matter and etc. Well to the AVA this probably isn't utmost priority and during all the time that the red tape is cleared and etc, the poor dog is still being confined in a tiny cage.

During the time that people finally take to give a shit, the animal is suffering untold and unfathomable horrors.

I've always had SPCA's number saved in case I ever come across a case of animal abuse. Please save it too, and call if you see a need to: 6287-5355
17 comments on "Puppy Mills & Abuse"
  1. Anonymous1:26 AM

    so like that how?

    1. Anonymous5:35 PM

      Adopt from an animal shelter. There are more than 10 animal shelters (dog focused) with more than 1,000 dogs available for adoption.

  2. Anonymous12:02 PM

    Thank you for your kindness towards animals. There are indeed too many unethical breeders, groomers and boarders in Singapore. Their inhumane treatment (driven by their insatiable thirst for money) towards animals is really sickening and disgusting. Good thing there are people like you who cares to make a stand for those beings which can't talk.

    God bless you.

  3. Anonymous3:08 PM

    thank you so much for posting this post. I'm concerned that many girls, especially the 18-25s, are considering buying puppies from pet shops. (i think this may be due to many famous blogshop owners buying pedigree puppies from pet shops recently, like ohsofickle, agneselle, hollyhoque, even bonitochico) Many people aren't aware of where these fluffy puppies come from, just that it's cool and aww to have a new puppy.

    Your blog post will help raise awareness about this less-known topic. thanks again for posting this!

  4. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Thank you for raising awareness about this issue. Cross-breeding of pups and puppy mills are a current issue that has sparked a great deal of controversy but I had absoltuely no idea that it took place on Singapore. Thank you for using your blog as a platform to spread the word and the message. More people need to know about this and take an active stand.


  5. Anonymous6:59 PM

    Singaporeans should start to adopt:
    Mdm Wong's shelter
    Singapore petschannel's adoption site

    'Old' dogs show the exact amount of love as the newly born ones. In fact, they do know that we have given them a chance and they would double their affection towards us. I would know this because I have adopted a 6 years old dog. Sadly, many locals think otherwise. Anw, I believe that it is our constant want to get a NEW puppy that contributes to the perpetual unethical breeding in Singapore. There wouldn't be supply w/o demand.

    Just imagine the pain of the pup's mother when the puppies are taken away from her against her own will. Animals are sentient beings and they go through the same pain as us. The best way to stop puppy mills is to adopt.

    Anyway, well said Sophie! Thank you so much. (:

  6. Anonymous8:48 PM

    i think it really depends on the owner's ability to raise a dog. there are varied reasons why some dog owners refuse to adopt a dog. puppies are much easier to train. especially if you need the dog for certain purposes like guarding the house. my family has always kept guard dogs like german shepherds/rottweilers etc, since i was a baby. we have tried adopting before but it wasn't easy to train those grown dogs though we sent them to professional dog trainers. (large breed dogs are normally up for adoption when they're about a year old -- age when they have fully grown to their size and no longer "cute") even when they're only 1-3 years old... they were not accustomed to discipline and strict house rules. and if they're not trained, neighbours or random strangers are at risk of getting attack by those dogs. furthermore, dogs which are abandoned by their prev owners are usually "flawed". some owners do not have the means be it financial or whatnots to care for those dogs hence, they forego adoption. i'm not against adoption or anything, just wanna share my point of view from anthr perspective.

  7. Anonymous8:59 PM

    lastly i really urge all dog owners to train their dogs and bring their dogs out to socialize (with other dogs). even small toy dogs require some sort of discipline. i have encounter many untrained crazy small-medium breed dogs which like to provoke my guard dogs. you can tell immediately if the dogs are trained or not by the way the owners walk the dog. trained dogs DO NOT/NOT SUPPOSED TO walk in front or behind you, they walk NEXT to you (w the leash, of course). if you do not have the time to train or bring your dog out to socialize, don't get a dog. it irks other dog owners ttm.

  8. Anonymous12:09 PM

    i really like it that you took such a strong stand on something and made good use of the platform available to you to make some difference.

    but you know the truth of the matter is MANY animals are being tortured/mistreated for the sake of profit maximisation. and dogs are just ONE such example. i think you know that already, so im not going to say anymore... but the overarching question is really what is appropriate?

    you like to eat your macs, to source all the mac you and the world wants to eat, we need chickens. lots and lots of chickens for example. and they are genetically modified to be fat, so more meat per chicken. they are then put in tiny cages where they barely fit and can barely move. worst of all, they are made so fat, they can't walk anyway. chickens were not meant to be so fat, until there was money to be made.

    so this is a running narrative really, and we all contribute. there is no holier than thou stance. dogs, chickens, cows, they're all animals.

  9. Anonymous1:09 PM

    We are not likely to wake up in a vegan world anytime soon. It is our responsibility to lessen the pain that we have inflicted on these animals. We can definitely cut down on our food intake and source out the origin of the animals. Ignorance is not bliss and everyone of us can contribute before the animals pay the highest price-extinction.

    We can relate more to household pets like dogs and cats rather than pigs, chickens, cows etc, that we are seldom exposed to. Hence, we can definitely start to be kind to dogs and cats first before moving on to others. No animals should die for us. We have the rights to pervade every aspect of their lives and it is up to us to use it justly.

  10. Anonymous8:55 PM

    I guess the key issue here lies with educating future pet owners on the origin of their pets and also, what it really means to own a pet..

  11. Anonymous5:06 PM

    Try as well. It's another local registered shelter for cats and dogs.

  12. Anonymous11:46 PM

    hi! perhaps spca shouldnt be the first choice to send animals you find, cos they dont have a no-kill policy. meaning, if the animal is of no value, too sick or whatsover, byebye poor thing. places like asd have a strict no kill policy, and would only put animals to sleep only if recommended by the vet.

    many shelters aims to reduce the growing number of strays by sterilizing, but AVA just culls (hush hush thing, but all the volunteers at dog homes will tell you that)

    1. Anonymous11:24 PM

      Yes, AVA does culling. I know of many people who called AVA to catch some stray cats/dogs and if they are not 'claimed' by their owners or feeders etc, within 3 DAYS, They will be put to sleep.

  13. i can't stand the one that's being left to die in starvation. it's damn cruel. i mean all of the above mentioned are cruel. human like them shld just die n pls give them a slow one.

  14. This post goes to show how wonderful a person you are. :)

  15. Anonymous9:53 PM

    Hey thanks so much for posting this, I'm currently doing a project on dog abuse and I'm really touched to see people like you who actually care about dog abuse and are willing to step up and fight for what you think is right!

    Also, this kind of animal abuse doesn't only happen to dogs. In the Macdonalds/Burger King/Mos Burger burgers that you eat, the beef inside comes from cows which have been brutally tortured. They are fed corn (which they don't usually eat and cannot digest) every single day, and kept in areas hardly big enough for the cows to even move. Due to indigestion problems because of the unsuitable diet, they develop diarrhoea; yet they are not washed or cleaned, and day after day they stand in the diarrhoea-filled pen, waiting to be slaughtered. Sometimes the waste can reach up to their underbellies without being cleared.

    How can people stand to eat beef after they know of this treatment of the cows? Well, I know I can't D;