A recent issue of animal cruelty in Singapore went viral. Platinium Dogs Club (PDC), a boarding house for dogs, was proven to be mistreating the pets left in their care. Several posts on Facebook surfaced from owners whose dogs came back with wounds, rashes, or worse after a stay in the boarding house.
One such post is from “Chained Dog Awareness”, a Singaporean group dedicated to protecting the welfare and rights of dogs. Their story is that someone notified them of a blind cocker spaniel trapped between the grates of a gate. Thankfully, the dog was carefully freed by the same person who alerted the group. The gate belonged to the Platinium Dogs Club boarding house, whose owner “was willing to let Sparky die even though it was struggling to get free and whining loudly in a desperate attempt to get help.”
Another post is from a Facebook user whose friend used the boarding services for their dog. They state: “Please be careful of this boarding house as they are not professional enough to handle dogs! Dog was checked in healthy, came back sick due to their negligence.” Further photos on the Facebook post show wounds all over the chow’s body and rashes in some areas.
According to reports from Singaporean site Mothership.sg, a raid was conducted by the Singaporean police with help from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Eighteen dogs and one rabbit were rescued from the boarding house, all suffering from varying levels of maltreatment. To make matters worse, it was discovered by Yahoo News Singapore that at least three dogs had died while under PDC’s care, while another died shortly after being retrieved by the owner.
While the situation has somewhat been resolved, and the business forcibly closed, damage has already been done. These dogs will forever live with the trauma they endured, while some owners will have to face the loss of their pets. The only silver lining is that the proper authorities were able to intervene before it got worse, but what if that hadn’t been possible?
If a similar situation had taken place in the Philippines, would our laws have been enough to protect these animals? Well, the Philippines’ Animal Welfare Act of 1998 does make any act of cruelty or maltreatment towards most animals illegal. Acts like torture, neglect, or inhumane care can lead to penalties and even jail time for perpetrators. So the law in itself does provide for safeguards.
According to PAWS (Philippine Animal Welfare Society), the problem is in enforcing the laws. Taking action against violators of the law requires a lot of tedious work in getting proper permits and executing affidavits. Another difficulty is the reports that lack complete information or verifiable witnesses.
While these are all fair standards to meet for intervention by the proper authorities, they might not be the proper ones to apply in times of emergencies. We have had our fair share of allegations against pet hotels and even veterinary clinics. A case as bad as this might not be so far off for us. Is it time to ask for stricter laws here in the Philippines?
How do you feel about animal welfare in the Philippines? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!