Three dog lovers have come together to form a non-profit organization (NPO) called “Exclusively Mongrels Limited”, hoping to educate Singaporeans on the plight of stray mongrels, or cross breeds, in Singapore.
The three founders -- Kevin Neo, a 36-year-old programme director in loyalty marketing, 42-year-old Jason Ong, owner of Torte Café, and 50-year old Sharon Oh, a homemaker – were stirred into action after mounting incidents of stray dog attacks. The organisation also recognised the growing need to reduce the stray dog population in Singapore through the means of sterilisation.
Just last week, a 22-year-old woman was attacked by a group of strays at the newly-opened tourist attraction, Gardens by the Bay.
In a separate event in December last year, a 20-year-old female jogger and a 35-year-old male jogger were attacked by a pack of nine stray dogs on separate days at a new park in Punggol Waterway Park.
The founders’ immediate plan as a legal entity is to approach factory owners of factories situated in Jurong and Tuas and request them to provide a small factory space to house stray dogs in the area.
This is because the rate of adoption of stray dogs is not high and mongrels are not approved by HDB and therefore cannot be re-homed in HDB flats.
The three founders of Exclusively Mongrels Limited have also been holding bi-monthly adoption drives at Ong's Torte Café since last October when they were still individual animal activists then. Taking on the role as the bridge between temporary owners and adopters, they have helped re-home an estimate of twenty dogs so far.
They’ve also been driving home the public message that mongrels are usually healthier than pedigrees because of lesser cases of inbreeding and that this will help save potential owners medical costs in the long term.
Unlike the AVA, the NPO together with other animal welfare groups and independent feeders are against the culling of dogs. They believe that the sterilisation of dogs, instead of culling, could be a better measure to reduce the stray dog population in Singapore but still has to be complemented by other measures.
“AVA will still catch the stray and may still put him down even though it may be sterilized,” said Neo.
According to him, AVA and SPCA will access the adoptability of the stray before they decide whether or not put the animal down. If the dog is found to be suitable for adoption, it will be sent to SPCA’s adoption gallery where it will stay until adopted. Most of the time, dogs are put down more than they are adopted and re-homed.
Neo also advised what the public can do if they happen to pick up a stray dog.
“If circumstances permit, bring the dog to a vet to scan him for a microchip to identify whether he is lost or abandoned or a stray,” said Neo.
If the dog is a stray, his advice is to keep it for a few days instead of handing them over to AVA or SPCA and to put him up for adoption via online media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
During the period of time before the dog is adopted and re-homed, temporary owners of the dogs have the option of sending them to temporary shelters like the Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD).
Just last week, Yahoo! Singapore reported on the story of the “Hachiko” of Jurong East, a stray Labrador who’s been roaming the estate since May. Just this weekend, it was picked up by a couple who intend to adopt and re-home the dog.