In 2014 new AVA licensing conditions for pet shops come into effect. One will bar those below 16 years from buying pets and the other is that pet shop owners must assess potential pet owners for their suitability to own a pet. Of course, it a good step ahead to prevent impulse buying, but we know that this won’t stop horrible treatments of animals and conditions in puppy mills and abuses of animals by pet owners.
The AVA requires the pet retailers to conduct a mandatory pre-sales screening of each transaction, but already the comments are abuzz as to how this is going to be enforced and what kind of questions to ask. When the tire hits the road, profits for the pet shops will be the first line of consideration. Also are pet shops already doing this currently? If not, this change will only make the comply to as much as it enables to sell the next pet. I honestly don’t think pet shops’ first priority will be the welfare of the animals, if not they will not be selling pets. Instead they will encourage people to adopt pets instead!
Nevertheless, this is a good tiny step in the right direction. It would have been better if there is a pet ownership license; all potential pet owners must go for the appropriate course to get license. Only then can they adopt or buy a pet. The licenses can be revoke due to confirmed abuses, neglect or abandonment. This way, basic pet education is standardized instead of leaving it to profile making pet shops to make up iffy questionnaires.
Lastly, it would have been great if HDB can totally repeal the out-dated no-cats rule (I know its in pilot) or selective toy dogs rules. Both these rules prevents people from adopting cats or dogs (which are not those toy breeds) that really need a home and in a place like Singapore where majority live in public housing, this means only a tiny minority selection of folks can afford to adopt them.